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Helicopter test rig for simulating blade leading edge erosion (LEE).

Wind turbine blades are exposed to an environment that severely promotes erosion, especially on the leading edge. This test rig is designed to test and compare coatings and protective layers applied to the wind turbine blades.

Our equipment provides a flexible test where the effect of different erosion parameters can be studied individually and isolate the effect on the degradation mechanism. In addition SINTEF has up-to-date characterization techniques that can provide the customers with a basic degradation understanding.

With the helicopter rigg we can simulate blade leading edge erosion (LEE). The samples are mounted to three blades on a propeller. This propeller is driven by an electrical motor. During operation, drops are impacting with the sample surface to simulate the impact of rain drops on wind turbine blades. The design of the rigg gives a reproducible drop size and distribution, making it possible to compare the erosion resistance of different coatings and materials.

In summary the rigg:

  • Is designed based on DNVGL-RP-0171
  • Has 600 nozzles to provide drops over the sample area
  • Can test at a temperature interval of -10°C to 25°C
  • Has the possibility of introducing salt water