The performance of a wind turbine is driven, among other factors, by structural fatigue experienced due to wind-induced vibrations. Under National Science Foundation funding, UCSD is studying a system for mitigating the blade vibrations by using a network of piezo-composite transducers with both active (feedback) and passive (shunt) controls. This system has the potential to increase the fatigue life of the wind turbine system by reducing the vibrations during operation.
In addition, UCSD is developing a statistical-based Infrared Thermographic method for imaging structural defects in the blades. These techniques are being tested on a unique test turbine blade at the Powell Laboratories that was designed in collaboration with the world renowned Wing Energy Group of the Sandia National Laboratory.