Raindrop erosion of composite materials: some views on the effect of bending stress on erosion mechanisms

Kieran Pugh, Ghulam Rasool, Margaret M. Stack

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14 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


This paper represents the investigation of rain erosion on wind turbine blade materials under load in the simulation of onshore and offshore environmental conditions. The experimental work was carried out on a whirling arm rig with the material under a static 3 point bend to simulate large multi-megawatt wind turbine blades flexing during operation. This experiment was run with both fresh water and salt water to simulate onshore and offshore turbines. The results showed that the effects of a pre-stress on the samples resulted in a higher degradation rate following rain drop erosion. The microscopic analysis of the samples exposed to pre-stress identified distinctive surface features which has been termed a surface impact circular deformation. These features showed signs of cracking which enhanced the erosion rate. The pre-stressed samples also encountered a larger crossover in erosive mechanisms of abrasion and direct impacts; this was theorised to be due to the material being close to its yield stress and more likely to plastically deform.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bio- and Tribo-Corrosion
Issue number2
Early online date2 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • wind energy
  • wind turbines
  • erosion
  • rain erosion
  • droplet impact
  • wear maps


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