The demonstrator, Aviation Enterprises (AEL) says, was produced to production-ready quality levels.
Whilst this development has been made particularly with tidal energy blades in mind, AEL believes that the new technology should also confer benefits across a wide variety of applications in the aerospace, offshore and industrial sectors.
The new spar represents a major milestone on the road toward tidal blade industrialisation. AEL add that when compared to the current state-of-the-art in tidal blade construction, a single-piece spar enables a significant reduction in both part count and assembly stages. Additionally, adoption of a single piece spar will negate the need for adhesive bonding during the spar manufacturing process. The net effect will be large reductions in materials and labour costs, streamlining of blade production and the avoidance of critical processes.
Cost, efficiency, reliability and quality have been watchwords throughout the programme. From the outset, AEL says it has aimed to perfect an externally-moulded spar without recourse to an autoclave, and using materials developed at AEL specifically for rapid application.
Further work will focus on the application of the new moulding technique to a full-size spar, integration within the blade, and the opportunities for mechanisation and process refinement that volume production will bring.
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