Wind turbines are a 21st-century windmill that turn a breeze into electrical energy. From an engineering standpoint, these turbines are quite impressive masterpieces of design, with rotors reaching 80m in length that, combined, provide a swept area of 20,566m². In all, these leviathans often have more than 8,000 components, but perhaps surprisingly, some of the most critical components are just centimeters long: The many sensors that keep these engineering masterpieces functioning in the face of extraordinary stresses, vibration, and various other hazards.
More specifically, sensors are key because they provide data that helps prevent large-scale failures by:
What types of sensors are used? A variety, including those that measure eddy current, displacement, and vibration, wind, and temperature:
Sensors play a key role in reducing the likelihood of major failures in wind turbines. Eddy current and displacement sensors, accelerometers, and wind and temperatures sensors are key to monitoring turbines and communicating potential and needed maintenance.
For more information about wind turbines and the sensors that support them, check out Barry Manz’ article, “Wind Turbines: Tiny Sensors Play Big Role,” in Mouser’s Application and Technology site.
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