The research of Composites and Materials Mechanics is particularly relevant for the development of blades for very large offshore wind turbines where weight savings are of great importance.
The section focuses on development of new fiber composite materials and on increasing the knowledge and description of existing composite materials, particularly with respect to strength, fatigue, durability and damage tolerant behavior. The field includes manufacturing and processing, characterisation of microstructures, modelling of materials, and characterisation of mechanical properties, non-destructive evaluation and structural health monitoring.
Key research areas are new composite materials (e.g. biomassbased composites and hybrid composites), process technology, compression, fatigue and fracture, adhesive joints, micromechanical testing with in-situ observations (utilising the electron microscope expertise of the Materials Science and Characterisation Section), micromechanical modelling as well as the development of new advanced mechanical testing methods and structural health monitoring.
The research is applicable for the lifetime of a wind turbine rotor blade, from development of concept, design, manufacturing, quality control, operation and maintenance to decomission.
The section has a laboratory for the manufacturing of fibre composites (materials, test specimens, prototypes) and a DANAK accredited laboratory for mechanical characterisation. The reorganisation is expected to lead to new research projects in the area of connecting macroscale and structural scale modelling and testing. Another new possible area for expansion is the manufacturing of prototype wind turbine blades (e.g. smart blades incorporating shapechanging composite structures and embedded sensors) in close collaboration with the sections Wind Turbines and Aeroelastic Design.
Thus, the section contributes to the focus area “Light and Strong Materials” and provides knowhow to other focus areas such as structural design and safety and aeroelastic design.