Erosion caused by the impact of water droplets on component surfaces can lead to failures in key technological applications. For example, in steam generating plants, the leading edge of turbine blades suffer major erosion damage from the steam driving the turbines, requiring costly maintenance and repair with consequent loss of generating capacity.
Similarly, erosion caused by the impact of rain drops on wind turbine rotor blades can change the profile of the blades, leading to significant loss in power generation capability. Blades are treated with low energy polymer coatings, but currently these coatings only last about 10 years before the blades need refurbishment.
For both of these applications, new materials solutions are required. In response, NPL has designed and manufactured a rotating arm test system to evaluate the effectiveness of these new materials.