Impact angle effects on erosion maps of GFRP: applications to tidal turbines

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Tribology in marine renewable technologies has become of increasing interest due to the implications for developing improved materials for tidal and wave energy conversion devices. This on-going research mainly focuses on tidal devices; the materials of interest are primarily polymer based composite materials that are used to provide structural integrity while reducing weight. These are specifically applied to turbine blades to withstand the high impact loadings in sea water conditions. At present, current materials in test trials have demonstrated some limitations in service. In this paper, some advanced experimental research has been carried out to investigate the tribological mechanisms of potential candidate composite materials to be used in tidal turbines by firstly considering the effects of various erosion parameters on the degradation modes, with and without particles in still and sea water conditions. The erosion mechanisms of composite materials used in tidal turbine blades have been evaluated using Scanning Electron Microscopy techniques to analyse the surface morphologies following testing in water representative of the constituents of coastal sea water. Generic erosion maps and the mechanistic maps have been constructed as a key to identify regions of minimum erosion for the operating conditions and to identify the significant effect of the sea water environment on the degradation of the composite. This research outcome will further help us to deeply understand and identify the erosion rates at different impact velocities and angles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bio- and Tribo-Corrosion
Issue number2
Early online date26 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • tidal turbine blades
  • composite blade degradation
  • solid particle erosion
  • erosion rate
  • particle velocity
  • impingement angle


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