Power generation industry benefits from vibration analysis

| Global Environmental Processes

Laser pattern on turbine blade

Vibration analysis enables power generation industry to make the best use of modern composite materials.

The University of Leicester’s £2.5million Advanced Structural Dynamics Evaluation Centre (ASDEC) is proving valuable for the power generation industry in their drive to utilise modern and novel lightweight and composite materials for increased efficiency, in part driven by the demands of legislation.

Whether it is a wind turbine or a gas turbine, knowledge of the structural dynamics of the machine is critical in achieving optimum efficiency and in ensuring lifetime reliability in service. This knowledge is now being gained using vibration analysis equipment at the UK’s first commercial robotised 3D scanning laser vibration measurement and modal analysis centre located at MIRA Technology Park near Hinckley.

Using lightweight materials provides unique challenges to the power generation industry as they are difficult to measure in traditional ways and also the simulation models are not as advanced as for traditional materials. ASDEC is overcoming both these issues for power generation clients.  By measuring through a non-contact technique, the ASDEC facilities ensure that there is no observer effect on even the lightest material.  Plus, the unit’s CAE and FE correlation capabilities supports customers in the composites manufacturing field to improve their modelling techniques.

Tim Stubbs, General Manager at ASDEC says, “By offering the capability of CAE and FE correlation with highly detailed experimental structural dynamics analysis we support our customers in improving their design process and reducing costs.  Physical test is expensive but essential, however by providing our customers with more accurate virtual models, they can run more design cycles at low cost through simulation leading to fewer physical prototypes.”

ASDEC’s static facilities in the Midlands are capable of structural dynamic tests of large and small items but there are cases where it is not possible to bring test objects into the lab.  In this situation ASDEC still has the flexibility to bring advanced structural dynamics testing to the test object.  Portable 3D scanning LDV (Laser Doppler Vibrometry) can be used in the field or in customer test facilities, allowing for detailed measurements on running systems where load needs to be absorbed.  In the case of running equipment, the non-contact measurement technology means accurate vibration data can be acquired on surfaces of any material and at any temperature.

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    A graduate of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Robert Chamberlain is the International Sales & Business Development Manager - W L Gore Automotive and Protective ePTFE Venting

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