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Research project: Development of an improved fatigue model for composite materials

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This project, sponsored by Vestas Technology UK, aims to examine fatigue damage in composite wind turbine blade materials.

Current S-N formulations are largely based on empirical data and fitted models and thus lack a predictive capacity.  A physically-based approach is needed to allow a more accurate damage model to be formulated.  To enable this model, an understanding of the different damage micromechanisms occuring, their relative contribution to overall material degredation, and the interactions between them is required.  This project combines mechanical testing with high-resolution computed tomography scanning to observe and quantify these mechanisms and their effects on fatigue life.  It is thus hoped that a mechanism-based accurate fatigue model can be formulated, allowing a more damage-tolerant design approach to be adopted by the sponsor.

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