Carbon coating not necessarily designed for wind turbines may indeed prove to be a boon to the wind industry as per the findings published in the journal Tribiology International.
Because of the demanding environment natural in wind turbine important components like actuators, bearings and gears are prone to failures. If the life of these components can be extended, the cost of the wind power can be reduced making it the most attractive energy source.
These failures occurs due to the phenomenon known as micropitting in which the repeated rolling and sliding cycles in the gears and bearings of turbines lead to cracks on the surface of drivetrain components. The result is the chipping of the metal and increasing the severity of the existing cracks where costly maintenance is required.
Surface and Lubrication Interaction, Discovery and Engineering (SLIDE) initiative, which study how lubricants and materials interact and widen novel lubrication and coating concepts that reduce friction. The researchers applied this ‘Diamond-Like’ coating to wind turbine components, which was of no use earlier.
The coating named N3FC, has verified its value through more than 100 million testing cycles with no appreciable micripitting. It surpassed the time limit of SLIDE’s benchtop micropitting test rig. If coating performs in the same way in real world conditions, it would mean enormous savings in terms of maintenance and also preventing the failure in wind turbines.