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Delegates are invited to meet and discuss with the poster presenters in this topic directly after the session 'Materials: Challenges and potentials' taking place on Thursday, 13 March 2014 at 09:00-10:30. The meet-the-authors will take place in the poster area.

Sulivan Dias Borges Vianna BASF SE, Germany
Holger Ruckdaeschel (1) F P Sulivan Dias Borges Vianna (1) Markus Hartenstein (1) Marc Martin (1) Harald Müller (1) Franca Rux (1) Dietmar Wingerath (1)
(1) BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany

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Combining materials for enhanced efficiency of rotor blades


Wind energy is playing a key role for the successful change towards renewable energy. The industry has significantly grown and matured during the last decades, as indicated by the installed capacity. However, innovations are still required to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Future wind turbines should combine enhanced efficiency and lower cost-of-energy at increasing turbine size – market requirements which BASF translates into chemistry, materials and systems.


The requirements to future solutions are best understood by a holistic view on wind turbines. In the case of rotor blades, state-of-the-art designs smartly combine materials to multi-material systems. This approach allows optimising the cost-to-performance ratio, and offers both opportunities and challenges. Compatibility between individual materials such as resins, core materials, fibres, adhesives and coatings needs to be ensured. We therefore provide insights into our expertise on compatibility which is relevant for manufacture and design, and into our next steps targeting synergism between the individual materials.

Main body of abstract

Chemical, thermal and mechanical compatibility are essential criteria to combine different materials in rotor blades. From lab-scale experiments to sophisticated analytical tools to technological test methods, we provide a thorough understanding on material combinations. This approach finally allows developing compatibility matrices which describe the general possibility to combine materials and required conditions. Subsequent prototype manufacture, component testing and simulation allow assessment on a realistic scale.
As demonstrated for resin systems, chemical and thermal compatibility with core materials is quite important. Resins system may degrade or even disintegrate core materials. In contrast, smart combinations of resins with core materials or reinforcing fibres can lead to robust processing or enhanced mechanical performance of the final system. These advantages finally drive an enhanced cost-to-performance ratio.
Similar effects are found for core materials and coating systems. As an example, optimisation of existing and development of new core material solutions allow saving weight via reduced resin consumption at similar mechanical performance; weight savings which directly lead to lower material costs and lighter designs. In case of coating systems, the multi-layer composition needs to be carefully tailored to achieve optimum processability and performance. Excellent protective properties as well as long life time can be achieved, and can preliminary be verified by our in-house erosion tests.
In all cases, the overall system ‘wind turbine’ needs to be considered, including the design, manufacture, operation and maintenance. Analysis of both system performance and costs helps to understand the relevance and impact of new materials and systems.


A holistic view on wind turbines and rotor blades helps to identify and evaluate new materials as well as system approaches. Novel solutions further drive innovations in processing technology, efficient use of materials, access to new design and higher performance of rotor blades. As highlighted by several examples, understanding and controlling the interaction between materials in systems support efficient processing and high performance at reasonable or even reduced costs.

Learning objectives
- Understand market requirements driving material & multi-material system development
- Create awareness for challenges and potential of combining materials in rotor blades
- Learn about compatibilities and synergisms between materials in case studies
- Stay informed about recent developments
- Classify developments via holistic view on wind turbines