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Bayer develops polyurethane composite for wind turbine blades

Bayer MaterialScience LLC has developed a new polyurethane-based composite technology for stronger, longer wind blades, said to improve fatigue and fracture toughness properties over current commercial epoxy-based systems.

By Kari Williamson

The technology has been praised by the US Department of Energy (DoE), which invited Bayer to display a prototype wind-turbine blade root ring at the recent American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Off-Shore Windpower Conference and Exhibition.

“It’s gratifying for our development to be highlighted, particularly in light of the many wind technology projects funded by the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programme in the past year,” says Mike Gallagher, director, Public Sector Business, Bayer.

DoE saw value in Bayer’s proposal to develop materials that allow blades to be lighter, stronger and longer.

A key property for wind turbine blades is the inter-laminar fracture toughness. The incorporation of Baytubes reinforcement technology into the polyurethane composites is said to have improved the fracture toughness by as much as 48%, which is double the fracture toughness of epoxy.

The new composites also have good processing and handling properties, potentially serving to lower total manufacturing cost by as much as 16%.

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