MaDurOS – a private public partnership for material durability breakthroughs in challenging operational conditions

The offshore environment puts severe durability requirements on materials. One of its main inherent characteristics is that material is often exposed to several environmental conditions simultaneously: corrosive environment, fatigue loading, abrasive conditions, etc. This is for example specifically true for the support structures of offshore wind turbines, representing 30% of the wind turbine cost. Also, equipment used in offshore constructions, such as dredging ships, suffers under these combined and harsh conditions.

Improved materials call for advanced testing

In 2012, OCAS created a regional network between industry and academia to develop the vertical SIM (Strategic Initiative Materials) R&D program MaDurOS exploring the topic of “Material Durability for OffShore”.

New, lighter and more resistant materials will allow building cheaper constructions while ensuring longer operational lives. Safe use of existing materials in more extreme environments would also represent a huge improvement. A clear need for advanced test infrastructure to validate materials for use in certain conditions was identified and already resulted in for instance a dedicated corrosion-fatigue test set-up allowing to accommodate for variable amplitude loading conditions, temperature effects as well as the use of real seawater.

image published with the courtesy of Ghent University’s Soete lab

Another example is the corrosion-abrasion test set-up which is currently being commissioned and will allow to enforce a corrosion potential upon the samples during either single or multiple asperity testing. Additionally a profound understanding of how the combined damage mechanisms work is a requirement for proper designing the test setups as well as for generating tools to understand and extrapolate the generated test results.

image published with the courtesy of Ghent University’s Soete lab

Predictive models for combined conditions

So far, this has already resulted in advanced constitutional material models which will allow to predict the fatigue, abrasion and corrosion behaviour of a “virtual material” starting from a 3D microstructure representation. Besides that, an innovative approach towards simulating the phase transformations and resulting distortions during welding was also developed. The MaDurOS program was set up to meet the needs voiced by industry and will strive at generating better predictive models for combined occurrence of damage mechanisms.

image published with the courtesy of KULeuven

image published with the courtesy of Ghent University’s Soete lab

In a nutshell the ambitions of the program are:

  • To gain deeper insight into the material behavior under combined durability conditions
  • While at the same time offering medium/large scale combined loading testing facilities to allow for material screening or development
  • Finally leading up to the development of new or improved materials, material processing techniques, material applications or monitoring techniques to strengthen the long term competitive position of our partners

The partners of MaDurOS are:

Click image to enlarge

“By performing advanced testing to validate novel materials and developing enhanced predictive models for combined conditions, MaDurOS meets society’s needs”

Steven Keyzer, Business development engineer, OCAS