Rain erosion on the leading edge of wind turbine blades is an intricate engineering challenge for the wind industry. Based on an energetic approach, this work proposes a methodology to characterise the erosion capacity of the raindrop impacts onto the leading edge blades. This methodology can be used with meteorological data from public institutions or from direct measurements at the wind turbine locations. The erosion characterisation is analysed using accumulative and per impact erosive variables, that is, total kinetic energy and kinetic energy per impact. To consider the frequency of impacts, two erosive variables are proposed, namely, total kinetic power and kinetic power per impact. These variables are calculated using the data from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut, KNMI) of the last 25 years jointly with the operation specifications of an actual wind turbine model (Suzlon S111). The main contribution to the erosive variables was found to be the wind speed because it controls the rotational velocity of the wind turbine. Also, the intensity of the rainfall and the frequency of meteorological data logging, that is, the temporal resolution of data, play a significant role.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.