As the power output requirements increase for wind turbines, wind generator manufacturers are moving towards larger blades to rotate these larger turbines at lower wind speeds. As the wind blades increase to over 45 meters in length, blade construction is moving away from the more traditional all fiberglass construction to utilize more carbon fiber. The carbon fiber provides substantial weight savings and increased strength to combat the extreme stress loads exerted on the blades during operation. Carbon fiber, however, is conductive and more prone to be struck by lightning. Without proper protection, they are susceptible to severe damage and catastrophic failure.
For two decades Dexmet has been working with aircraft designers developing precision expanded MicroGrid foils for lightning strike protection on carbon fiber composite aircraft and its components. Benefiting from the development work done in the aircraft industry, Wind Blade Manufacturers are now realizing the importance of having the proper lightning strike protection for larger carbon fiber blades.
As with Aerospace applications, weight is always critical so PPG Engineered Materials provides different conductive materials to minimize the weight based on the different strike zones. As with all rotary blades, lighting is more prone to hit the leading edge and the outer blade surfaces towards the tips where the highest amount of static energy is generated. For these locations, the heavier, more conductive materials are utilized. As you move towards the root of the blade, a lighter weight material can be incorporated to reduce weight and cost. The variability with Dexmet’s expanding process provides the capability of producing a custom material based on desired weight, conductivity, or open area to meet exact application requirements.
PPG MicroGrid® Proven Lightning Strike Protection
- Proven Technology For Lightning Strike Protection
- Highly Conductive Patterns Matched To Specific Requirements
- Open Area Design For Easy Dry Or Wet Layup Without Delaminating
- Easily Repairable For Low Maintenance Costs And Minimal Downtime
MicroGrid® Materials For Hybrid-Carbon Fiber Wind Turbine Blades
PPG MicroGrid® materials are thin, open area products applied to a layer on the top of the structural carbon fiber spar/web or other systems that utilize carbon such as de-icing solutions that consume carbon heating mats on the leading edge. PPG MicroGrid® materials can achieve critical conductivity, sometimes in conjunction with the carbon components, to dissipate 20-25 years’ worth of lightning strikes. Expanded copper and aluminum MicroGrid meshes are essential at extending the life of hybrid carbon fiber composite blades.
PPG engineered materials are used in conjunction with the other parts of the entire lightning strike protection system for a wind turbine blade. Dexmet mesh can provide connections between receptor(s) and anchor blocks/root through which high voltage current pass to ground connections. To learn more about the benefits of PPG Engineered Materials, witness its lightning protection performance or understand how it can reduce your maintenance costs and downtime, contact PPG at sales@dexmet. com or visit our web site and let us show you how to incorporate the innovative MicroGrid® materials into your composite designs and start recognizing the benefits today.
PPG Engineered Materials (formerly Dexmet Corporation) manufactures precision expanded metal foils and polymers for applications in aerospace, power generation, filtration and automotive industries. Dexmet was founded in 1948 and is based in Wallingford, Connecticut and was acquired in 2019 by PPG. For over 60 years Dexmet has been at the forefront of expanding technology and has redefined the standards for micro mesh materials providing the greatest range of products and capabilities for foil gauge metals and thin polymer films. Dexmet manufactures thin, light-weight precision expanded Copper and Aluminum from .001” thick and widths reaching over 48” that can meet specific weight, conductivity and open area requirements required by aerospace or wind generation applications. Precision MicroGrid materials from PPG Engineered Materials are the industry standard for expanded materials used in lightning strike protection, on carbon fiber structures with OEM aircraft manufacturers as well as EMI/RFI, and ESD protection for sensitive internal instrumentation. The Dexmet Quality System is ISO AS9100:D and ISO 9001:2015 certified.