Sustainable Design Research Centre – Faculty of Science & Technology Research Seminar

Date: 02/04/2014

Time: 12:00 – 12:30

Venue: PG 22

Title: Renewable energy goes global – what is wrong with the wind turbines?


As a fast growing renewable energy source, wind turbines have undergone significant development over the past thirty years providing a suitable portion of renewable energy in many countries. However, the world’s demand for wind energy supply will continue to increase in the next five to ten years. To increase the production efficiency, wind turbine manufacturers have been focusing on the increase of output power from individual turbines. Larger and heavier gearboxes are being put up ‘in the air’ (on the top of high towers), which has unfortunately been accompanied by an escalation of tribological issues related to wear and lubrication in the drivetrain systems. The unsatisfactory performance and reliability of wind turbines are threatening the sustainability of wind energy globally. Wind turbine failure, white structure flaking (WSF), has been found to limit the lives of a large number of wind turbine gearboxes from the design life of over 20 years to as short as 6 months to 2 years and the premature failure has a huge impact on the reliability of wind turbines and the cost of wind energy due to its frequent occurrences and high cost involved (at £300k per gearbox replacement). This talk presents the research on WSF at University of Southampton.

Brief bio:

Dr Ling Wang is a lecturer in condition monitoring of tribological systems at the national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS), Engineering Sciences Academic Unit, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment since 2007. She has published over 80 peer reviewed papers and conducted collaborative research projects with a wide range of industrial partners including Rolls-Royce plc. GE Aviation, Vestas Wind Systems, Shell Global Solutions, Afton Chemical Corporation, BP and Agusta Westland.

These seminars are organised by the University Sustainable Design Research Centre in the Faculty of Science & Technology to provide a platform for disseminating latest research activities and results. These seminars are good opportunity of networking for both BU staff and students.

If you would like further information on research activities in corrosion, corrosion simulation and corrosion monitoring please visit SDRC webpage. For any specific inquiries please contact

Dr Zulfiqar Khan (Associate Professor)

Director Sustainable Design Research Centre