Journal of solar energy engineering-transactions of the asme vol:127 issue:4 pages:570-580
This paper addresses the feasibility of using innovative vacuum infused anionic polyamide-6 (PA-6) thermoplastic composites for MW-size wind turbine blades structures. To compare the performance of this fully recyclable material against commonly used less sustainable thermoset blade materials in a baseline structural MW-size blade configuration (box-spar/skins), four different blade composite material options were investigated: Glass/epoxy, carbon/epoxy, glass/PA-6, and carbon/PA-6. Blade characteristics such as weight, costs, and natural frequencies were compared for rotor blades ranging between 32.5 and 75 m in length, designed according to both stress and tip deflection criteria. Results showed that the PA-6 blades have similar weights and natural frequencies when compared to their epoxy counterpart. For glass fiber blades, a 10% reduction in material cost can be expected when using PA-6 rather than epoxy while carbon fiber blades costs were found to be similar. Considering manufacturing, processing temperatures of PA-6 are significantly higher than for epoxy systems; however, the associated cost increase is expected to be compensated for by a reduction in infusion and curing time.