Stockwell Elastomerics has been working with a major wind turbine blade manufacturer on a design and logistics challenge – how to hold and transport fragile wind turbine blades that are 110 feet long and greater – without squeezing the blade too firmly. Wind turbine blade damage can be an expensive problem, not just from the cost to repair the blade, but also from downtime and installment delays in bringing the units on-line.
After several iterations, we developed a combination of closed cell silicone sponge cushioning with a ‘grippy’ liquid silicone rubber coated fiberglass cloth surface lamination.
The result has been a soft holding pad with enough tensile strength to cradle the blade as it is transported to the installation site. We have been told the blade damage has been reduced by 40% when our transportation cushion pads are used.
Closed cell silicone sponge was selected for the cushioning layer due to its low compression set and age, sunlight and weather resistance in prolonged outdoor conditions. The closed cell silicone sponge can be laminated to virtually any thickness using silicone based bonding adhesives. Closed cell silicone sponge is available in 3 grades of firmness – soft, medium and firm. The grippy LSR coated fiberglass has the same inherent age resistance – making this laminated construction a great example of how Stockwell Elastomerics can develop a combination of properties to solve an engineering challenge.