ECN and WMC join forces to improve the provision of material research for industry

Thursday March 10, 2016 08:49

ECN and Knowledge Centre WMC are set to cooperate even closer in material research for industry. The expertise of both organisations in material knowledge and research are highly complementary. This makes it possible to support industry from design through to application and make available the unique knowledge infrastructure of both parties for this purpose.

On an annual basis, major installations at power plants, petrochemical companies and in the offshore and process industries unnecessarily suffer damage amounting to billions of euros as a result of failure or downtime. Even for smaller systems, research into potential damage pays for itself by means of lower maintenance costs or increased availability. Through research into the choice of materials, manufacturing methods and stress and environmental conditions, businesses can save on repair and maintenance costs and increase the availability of their installations.

Material knowledge relevant for industry
Knowledge of materials is essential for solving tomorrow's energy problems. It is only possible to create an effective, affordable and reliable wind turbine if you understand the materials and know how to work them. ECN has developed a unique track record and expertise in this area by means of a range of studies and experiments on renewable energy technologies, for solar panels, heat pumps, wind turbines, energy storage, etc. It has also worked in other areas, for SMEs, utility companies through to designers and manufacturers of technological solutions, because knowledge of materials is an effective enabler in any industry. If you understand the properties and characteristics of a material, you can also determine how it will behave in the process in which you want to apply it. Only then will you know if a material really is suitable or not."

WMC specialises in the mechanical testing of all kinds of materials, structures, components and systems. WMC conducts static strength tests and dynamic fatigue tests on structures and materials subjected to heavy stress loads and has a unique facility for testing large components, such as wind turbine rotor blades. WMC’s laboratory was recently extended to include facilities for mechanical testing in a range of controlled climatological conditions. The various experiments conducted at WMC form the basis for developing material and construction models and design guidelines. By combining tests with fundamental research into the behaviour of materials, WMC has gained a strong reputation, especially in research into the long-term behaviour of structures, including composite structures. WMC uses standardised test methods to certify new products and supports product development by means of knowledge and customer-specific testing.

Faster and better testing methods

By combining forces in material expertise and making available the technological knowledge and unique research infrastructure, it is made easier for industry to conduct research into materials and structures across the entire chain. Thanks to the combined mechanical and material analysis, the effects of construction faults and ageing on the life-cycle can be identified more rapidly. The same applies to the reasons why structures fail (prematurely); chemical analyses and microscopy can be combined with the simulation of and/or actual exposure of the product to realistic stresses. The combination of material expertise also enables hybrid structures (combinations of steel, composite and other materials) to be investigated in greater detail. As such, WMC and ECN are combining their years of experience in the development of increasingly improved and faster customised testing methods. WMC and ECN provide support from product development and certification through to after-care, such as damage investigation and research.

You can find more information about ECN's knowledge of materials and its offering on the expertise page.

If you would like to know more about or become acquainted with our material experts, please use the contact form.

Category: Engineering & materials, Biomass, Wind Energy, Energy efficiency, Corporate