To date in the wind industry, steel and fiberglass structures have been the most commonly used materials. However, extruded aluminum structures offer a huge potential in offering strong but lightweight corrosion-resistant structures, capable of solving some of the wind turbines industries design challenges.
As with any material we will first discuss the advantages of the base material and the typical advantages of extrusions along with the some parameters of good design practices that enable more efficient wind turbine systems.
Aluminum extrusion advantages
Some typical advantages of aluminum extrusions which contribute to increased customer value:
• High strength to weight ratio
• Excellent malleability
• Providing design flexibility through a) Complex profile cross-section: allowing different parts and features to be integrated into the same profile and b) fewer parts and fewer production steps in assembly
• Corrosion resistance even in harsh environments
• Excellent thermal conductivity
• Approximately four times lower cost than copper and 1/3 the weight of steel
• Excellent cryogenic properties – does not become brittle in cold temperatures.
• High end-of-life value and easy to recycle