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Despite the lack of agreement by leaders at December’s Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change, ITW Plexus expect the use of wind energy to grow at an unprecedented level.
With turbine structures increasing in size, ITW Plexus has invested into researching the use of structural adhesives to bond composite wind turbine components together. During this research, the company believe they have developed an alternative to slow-curing epoxy systems, polyesters, and two part polyurethane adhesives. In response to these products, ITW Plexus has developed a series of fast-curing, 1:1 methacrylate structural adhesives which they say can produce bonds so strong the substrates will delaminate before the bond fails.
ITW Plexus claim that unlike traditional adhesives, these advanced methacrylate adhesives chemically fuse FRP/GRP, composite stiffener spars and perimeter flange joints. They are also said to give increased peel resistance and cycle fatigue resistance while reducing damage encountered during transportation. Room temperature snap cure properties have helped to increase production rates and eliminate the high capital expenses and energy costs associated with post-bake ovens which are required to cure some epoxies. What’s more, researchers say that in most cases these adhesives don’t require any abrasion or surface preparation.
ITW say that there are numerous benefits to using their system, including potentially reduced production costs, shortened assembly times, reduced component weight and resistance to water and UV.
The system has been successfully deployed by Terom Wind Energy in Bolgna, Italy.
Glass fibre reinforced polymer blades have been internally designed and produced using a vacuum-infusion process for their small wind turbine – the ATBV26.
ITW Plexus say that this system allows complete saturation of glass reinforcements with resin and offers a very good fibre-to-resin ratio since vacuum minimizes air pockets forming between fibres and the permeability of the fibreglass. Blade components, made using special moulds, are then finished and bonded together using a Plexus structural adhesive. The total result is a strong but light product, with very good mechanical resistance properties.
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