In the wind power industry, epoxy resin is now widely used in wind turbine blade materials. Epoxy resin is a high-performance material with excellent mechanical properties, chemical stability and corrosion resistance. In wind turbine blade manufacturing, epoxy resin is widely used in the structural parts, connections and coatings of the blade. In the parts of the blade’s support structure, skeleton and connectors, epoxy resin can provide high strength, high stiffness and fatigue resistance to ensure the stability and reliability of the blade.
Epoxy resin can also improve the blade’s wind shear resistance and impact resistance, reduce the blade’s vibration noise, and improve the efficiency of wind power generation. At present, there is also the use of epoxy resin and glass fiber modified curing, is directly applied in the wind power blade materials, can improve the strength and corrosion resistance and so on.
In wind turbine blade materials, epoxy resin application also need to use curing agent and accelerator and other chemical products:
First, the most used epoxy resin curing agent in the wind power industry: polyether amine
Typical products are polyether amine, which is also the most used epoxy resin curing agent in the wind power industry. Polyether amine epoxy resin curing agent, applied in the matrix epoxy resin curing and structural adhesive, with low viscosity, long application period, anti-aging and other aspects of excellent overall performance, has been widely used in wind power, textile printing and dyeing, railroad corrosion, bridge ship waterproofing, petroleum and shale gas mining and other fields, polyether amine downstream as wind power accounted for more than 62%. It should be especially noted that polyether amine belongs to organic amine epoxy resin.
According to the survey, polyether amine can be obtained by polyethylene glycol, polypropylene glycol or ethylene glycol/propylene glycol copolymer ammonia at high temperature and high pressure, the choice of different polyalkylene oxide structure can be adjusted to polyether amine reactivity, toughness, viscosity, as well as hydrophilicity, and a series of properties. Polyether amine has the advantages of good stability, not easy to whiten, good gloss and high hardness after curing, and can be dissolved in water, ethanol, hydrocarbons, esters, glycol ethers and ketones and other solvents.
According to the survey, China’s polyether amine market consumption scale is more than 100,000 tons, and has shown more than 25% growth in the past few years. It is expected that by 2025, the volume of China’s polyether amine market will exceed 150,000 tons in the short term, and the consumption growth rate of polyether amine is expected to be around 8% in the future.
China’s long-term planning capacity of polyether amine to be built in the future is more than 200,000 tons, it is expected that China’s long-term production capacity of polyether amine will exceed 300,000 tons/year, and the future long-term growth trend will remain high.
Second, the fastest growing epoxy resin curing agent in wind power industry: methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride.
According to the survey, the fastest growing epoxy resin curing agent in the wind power industry is methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride curing agent. In the field of wind power epoxy curing agent, there is methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride (MTHPA), is through the pultrusion molding process, the production of wind turbine blades with high-performance epoxy resin-based carbon fiber (or glass fiber) reinforced composite materials in the most commonly used curing agent, methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride is also used in electronic information materials, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, resins, and the defense industry. Methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride is as an important representative of the anhydride curing agent, but also the fastest growing curing agent species in the future.
Methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride is produced from maleic anhydride and methyl butadiene by bis-alkene synthesis and then isomerization.
Along with rapid economic growth and consumption upgrades, the demand for coatings, plastics, and rubber continues to increase, further boosting the growth of the methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride market.
In addition, anhydride curing agents also include tetrahydrophthalic anhydride THPA, hexahydrophthalic anhydride HHPA, methyl hexahydrophthalic anhydride MHHPA, and methyl p-nitroaniline MNA, which can be applied in the field of epoxy resin curing agents for wind turbine blades.
Third, the best performance epoxy resin curing agent in wind power industry: isophorone diamine, methyl cyclohexyl diamine
In the epoxy resin curing agent products, the curing agent varieties with optimal performance are isoflurane diamine, methyl cyclohexyl diamine, methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride, tetrahydrophthalic anhydride, hexahydrophthalic anhydride, methyl hexahydrophthalic anhydride, and methyl p-nitroaniline. These curing agent products, with excellent mechanical strength, suitable operation time, low curing exotherm and excellent operation of the infusion process, applied in the wind power blade materials epoxy resin and glass fiber composites. Acid anhydride curing agent belongs to the heating curing, more suitable for wind turbine blade beam pultrusion molding process.
Methylcyclohexanediamine, usually a mixture of 1-methyl-2,4-cyclohexanediamine and 1-methyl-2,6-cyclohexanediamine, is an aliphatic cycloalkyl compound that is produced by the hydrogenation of 2.4-diaminomethylbenzene. Methylcyclohexanediamine can be used alone as an epoxy resin curing agent, or mixed with other common epoxy curing agents (e.g., aliphatic amines, alicyclic amines, aromatic amines, acid anhydrides, etc.) or general-purpose accelerators (e.g., tertiary amines, imidazoles).
It should be particularly noted that the organic amine curing agent in environmental protection, applicable period of time is not as good as the anhydride curing agent, but in terms of performance, operation time is better than the anhydride curing agent varieties
China in the wind power industry in the epoxy resin curing agent product variety, but the main application of a single product, the international market are actively exploring and research and development of new epoxy resin curing agent products, curing agent products in the continuous upgrading iteration. The slow progress of such products in the Chinese market is mainly based on the high replacement cost of epoxy resin curing agent formulations in the wind power industry and the lack of relatively perfect products for the time being. However, with the continuous progress of technology, and with the epoxy resin curing agent and the international market in line with the operation, China in the field of wind power epoxy resin curing agent products will continue to upgrade and iteration.
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