All turbine blades will experience leading edge erosion. Leading edge erosion is caused by rain, sand, bugs, and ice, and without leading edge protection (LEP) most blades will have significant leading edge damage in 2 to 5 years. Eroded leading edges will reduce the aerodynamic efficiency of the blades, and many sites have measured decreased power production by as much as 12%. The return on investment (ROI) for repairing the erosion damage and applying LEP can be very short, and most sites can expect an ROI of 1-2 years.
For this project, the blades had significant erosion development. The erosion had worn through the surface coat and damaged the leading edge bond joint and fiberglass shell underneath. We started by removing the surface coat and bond paste at the damaged areas and then abraded and cleaned out the individual cavities. The areas with damaged fiberglass were scarfed back and new fiberglass layers were added. The bond joint cavities were filled with adhesive paste, and it was shaped to the original leading edge contour. We applied a layer of fiberglass wrap over the leading edge to reinforce it and applied fairing filler and sanded to the original contour. The repaired areas were painted with polyurethane paint, and LEP tape was applied per 3M specification including edge sealer on the perimeter to keep the edges from peeling and to provide aerodynamic efficiency.
Performance Composites has extensive experience with various LEP types, including liquids and the long proven WPT tapes. The large, stable, wrap-around suspended platforms we use are perfect for high quality and rapid installation of full length LEP installs, typically 14-16 meters.
For more information on erosion repair, LEP or any other blade related service, call or email us.