FLIR Thermal Imaging Helps Safeguard Wind Power Generation
19 Jul 2013

A new applications report from FLIR Systems details how the Korea Institute of Standards & Science (KRISS) is helping lead international effort, using FLIR thermal imaging cameras, to develop standards for non-destructive testing of metallic and composite materials used in wind power generators.

Typically manufactured from advanced composite materials - wind power generation blades used to convert the wind into electrical power range in length from tens to hundreds of meters and reach weights of many tonnes. In operation the blades are subject to significant amounts of stress that may result in cracks which potentially could result in catastrophic failure. To date test methods for detecting cracks in wind turbine blades have been based on direct contact (requiring generator shutdown) or ultrasonic technology that offers reasonable results but is limited by the considerable time and effort to detect cracks in local areas.

The thermal imaging test procedure, using FLIR SC-5000 Series thermal imaging cameras, developed by KRISS offers the advantages of almost instantaneous results over the whole blade and non-contact inspection enabling the test to be undertaken without having to dissemble the blade from the wind power generator. Having demonstrated the utility and benefits of the thermal imaging method - KRISS is now quantifying the test results and undertaking research to develop a standardized defect test system and method.

Dr Man-Yong Choi, Vice President of the Korean Society of Non-Destructive Testing who is leading the development of non-destructive test technology using thermal imaging cameras commented 'The FLIR SC-5000 Series cameras offer particular features that are key for this application such as high sensitivity and high speed thermal imaging'.

The FLIR SC5000 Series is specifically designed for the most demanding users of IR technology, who want to perform thermal imaging at high spatial resolution with the highest sensitivity and accuracy at an affordable cost. The FLIR SC5000 series is designed specifically for stress analysis and mechanical testing, industrial, educational, R&D, IR thermography and NDT applications.

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Sarah Thomas
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