Korea Institute of Standards & Science (KRISS) is using FLIR Systems' thermal imaging cameras to develop standards for non-destructive testing of metallic and composite materials used in wind power generators.
According to a new applications report from FLIR Systems wind power generation blades, manufactured from advanced composite materials, will convert the wind into electrical power with a range in length from tens to hundreds of metres and reach weights of many tonnes.
During operations, the blades are subjected to an enormous amount of stress that could potentially cause cracks, which may result in catastrophic failure.
FLIR said to date, test methods for detecting cracks in wind turbine blades have been based on direct contact or ultrasonic technology that offers reasonable results, but is limited by the considerable time and effort to detect cracks in local areas.
The thermal imaging test procedure uses FLIR SC-5000 Series thermal imaging cameras developed by KRISS.
The FLIR SC5000 series has been designed mainly for stress analysis and mechanical testing, industrial, educational, R&D, IR thermography and NDT applications.
According to the report, the test procedure provides the advantages of almost instantaneous results over the whole blade and non-contact inspection, enabling the test to be undertaken without having to dissemble the blade from the wind power generator.
KRISS, which is now measuring the test results, is also undertaking research to develop a standardised defect test system and method.
The Korean Society of Non-Destructive Testing vice-president Man-Yong Choi said: "The FLIR SC-5000 Series cameras offer particular features that are key for this application, such as high sensitivity and high-speed thermal imaging."
Image: KRISS is also undertaking research to develop a standardised defect test system and method. Photo: courtesy of FLIR Systems.