Lightning strikes wreak havoc on wind turbine blades, and sometimes these lightning blasts cause severe damage to the blade tip and lightning protection system. The majority of these damaged blades can be repaired, even if the blade tip is missing. Performance Composites Field Service has the expertise, experience, and equipment to repair or replace the blade tips, and most the time, the repairs can be performed up tower reducing downtime and eliminating crane costs.
On this project, 1.5m (5 ft.) of the blade tip was completely missing, requiring fabrication of new tip shells. Our technicians made splash molds from a good blade of the same series, to create mold surfaces that duplicate the exact shape of the blade tip. We fabricated the new tip shells using equivalent materials, following the laminate sandwich-panel construction of the OEM design and molded under vacuum pressure. The new tip shells were laminated, cured, demolded, trimmed and prepped. We then structurally bonded the new shells to the spar under distributed clamp pressure and also installed new lightning protection components.
Once the new shells were bonded firmly to the spar, at the interfaces of the new shells to the existing shells, we stepped back the layers at the joints and laminated together the inner skins, new core materials, and outer skin laminates. Additional over wrap reinforcement layers were applied to strengthen the leading and trailing edge joints. Finally, all repair surfaces were filled and faired, and two coats of polyurethane paint. This blade had leading-edge protection tape, which was also replaced and edge sealed.
This repaired blade has been operating perfectly since 2014. For more information on repairing lightning damaged blades or to repair badly damaged blades, call or email us.