Wind energy producers may soon reach new heights thanks to the strength and versatility of precast concrete towers tested recently at the Iowa State University.
The tests, which put the tower sections through thousands of hours of the same twisting forces experienced in the real world, were a success.
“I think we’ve made great progress in validating a new concept of using prefabricated concrete for taller wind turbine towers,” said Sri Sritharan, an engineering professor at Iowa State.
During the tests, a 12-foot tall section of tower was shaken using 100,000 pounds of force every second for weeks. The results showed the precast concrete towers could withstand the forces with no problem.
Engineers concluded that the precast concrete towers could be built as high as 450 feet tall instead of the 260 feet currently standard using steel towers. Iowa has hundreds of wind turbine towers located across its landscape.
The towers tested are made up of hexagonal sections made by combining flat panels to columns tied together with cables. The benefit of the higher towers is that the wind is faster and steadier above 330 feet and would be able to produce more power. The study was performed using grants from the federal government and energy producers.
The university’s goal is to build a full-sized tower to test the study’s findings in the field.
Use of precast concrete has continued to expand as manufacturers and engineers find new applications for the material.
Del Zotto Products has decades of experience in all aspects of precast concrete. We have made several innovations to the industry and hold patents on equipment to produce precast concrete products. Del Zotto custom makes precast concrete products and the metal forms for those who want to produce their own products.
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