Aug 8, 2021

Lightning No Match for Wind Turbine Blade Protection System

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Standing hundreds of feet above ground, wind turbines — like tall trees, buildings, and telephone poles — are easy targets for lightning. Just by virtue of their height, they will get struck.

Lightning protection systems exist for conventional wind turbine blades. But protection was needed for blades made from a new type of material—thermoplastic resin composites — and manufactured using an innovative thermal (heat-based) welding process developed by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Thermoplastic materials, like plastic bottles, can be more easily recycled than the thermoset materials commonly used to make wind turbine blades today. While thermoset materials need to be heated to cure, thermoplastics cure at room temperature, which reduces both blade manufacturing times and costs.

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