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INEGI innovates with a system that monitors structural "health" of rotating blades without contact

07 June 2021
The first system for monitoring rotating blades was born at INEGI, which makes it possible to assess the structural "health" of moving structures, such as wind turbines or similar, without interrupting their operation.

The innovative system, created by a team of engineers from INEGI, is comprised of set of methods based on image processing technologies that allow the remote assessment of the displacements suffered by an object during its rotational movement, in a practical and precise manner.

As Pedro Sousa, responsible for the project at INEGI, explains, "monitoring the deformation of rotating objects, such as wind turbines or helicopter blades, is a significant technical challenge, since a classic approach using physical connections and wires is complex and impractical”.

To solve this problem, the Institute's team resorted to technologies such as digital image correlation (DIC) and thermography, in order to make it possible to detect defects in rotating blades without having to interrupt their operation.

System will monitor wind turbines, helicopters and moving planes

"It's an important advance, for the wind industry, for example, where immobilizing a turbine is costly. It will also be a valuable tool for designers of systems such as helicopters and airplanes, allowing a better understanding of the behavior in motion, and the optimization of efficiency, safety and noise”, emphasizes Pedro Sousa.

The solution consists of several customized systems, namely, a compact lighting system capable of emitting up to 20 thousand lumens, an image acquisition synchronization system, compatible with rotations above 100 thousand rotations per minute, and a software for processing data.

The combination of these developments "has a particularly innovative character in the analysis of rotating mechanical components, by allowing the absolute comparison of displacements both in-plane and out-of-plane, when existing solutions only allow the analysis of relative displacements outside the plane", he adds.
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