FRP Tubes: A Key Component in the Wind Energy Industry

Editor:Zhejiang Hetai New Material Co. LTD │ Time:2023-04-11 

FRP pipe is a pipe composed of fiber-reinforced material and resin that is lightweight, high-strength, and corrosion-resistant. In wind energy applications, FRP pipes are widely used in wind turbine manufacturing to support and connect blades to turbine towers.The importance of FRP pipes is that they can meet the requirements in wind turbine manufacturing, such as high strength and corrosion resistance, while having the advantages of low cost and easy processing. This paper will introduce the materials, manufacturing process, design considerations, advantages and disadvantages, and practical application examples of FRP tubes for wind energy applications.

FRP pipe materials for wind energy applications

In wind energy applications, FRP pipe materials have many advantages. FRP pipe materials are lighter than traditional metal pipe materials, which makes installation and maintenance easier. FRP materials are more resistant to corrosion and oxidation, which increases the life span of the pipe material. In addition, FRP materials have high strength, stiffness and fatigue resistance, which makes them ideal for use in high-strength and demanding applications such as wind turbine blades, masts and towers. Finally, FRP pipe materials can be customized as needed to suit different application scenarios and requirements. These advantages make FRP pipe materials an integral part of wind energy applications.

FRP pipe manufacturing processes for wind energy applications

There are several manufacturing processes that can be used for FRP pipe manufacturing, including hand lamination, fiber winding, and pultrusion molding. The hand lamination process is a simple manufacturing process that involves cleaning and covering the mold surface with glass fibers, adding resin and hardener, and waiting for complete drying. The fiber winding process is an automated process that creates pipes by controlling the transfer of fiber bundles. The pultrusion molding process, on the other hand, involves pressing a resin slurry into a prefabricated mold and pressing it with an extruder to shape it.

In wind energy applications, FRP (fiber reinforced plastic) pipes are used as components for wind turbine blades, wind turbine towers and cable protection tubes. The following are the process steps of FRP pipe manufacturing:

1. Raw material selection: Select suitable glass fiber and resin material, usually epoxy resin or polyester resin is used.

2. Preparation of molds: The fabrication of FRP pipes requires the use of molds, which need to be prepared according to the design drawings. Usually use aluminum mold or steel mold.

3. Coating the mold: A film is applied to the surface of the mold to prevent the FRP material from sticking to the surface of the mold.

4. Prepare FRP material: Mix glass fiber and resin, stir well and then apply a thin coating inside the mold with a brush or spray gun.

5. Turning winding: Put the coated mold on the turning winding machine, and the machine will automatically wind the FRP material on the mold. The rotating speed and winding angle of the winding machine need to be adjusted according to the design requirements.

6. Curing: The wound FRP mold is put into the oven for curing, which usually takes 3-8 hours at 120-150°C.

7. Demold: After the FRP material in the mold is completely cured, the mold will be disassembled and the FRP pipe will be taken out.

8. Surface treatment: Surface treatment of FRP pipe, such as painting, polishing, etc.

The above are the basic process steps of FRP pipe manufacturing. Different manufacturers may have slightly different process and process details.

Design Considerations for FRP Pipe in Wind Energy Applications

Several factors need to be considered when designing and using FRP pipe to meet the manufacturing and use requirements. Load requirements are the loads that the manufactured FRP pipe will carry in wind energy applications, including the weight of the supporting and connecting turbines and blades. Fatigue resistance is the resistance of the pipe material to damage during repeated loading. Environmental factors are also a consideration, such as UV exposure and temperature, which can affect the durability of the pipe. The pipe application and the installation and maintenance in use also need to be considered.

The following factors need to be considered for FRP pipe design in wind energy applications:

1. Material selection: FRP pipes should be selected with suitable materials, such as epoxy resin, polyester resin, etc., according to the requirements of the use environment.

2. Pipe size: The dimensions of the pipe such as diameter, wall thickness and length must be designed according to the actual application requirements and the forces to be endured to ensure the safety and reliability of the pipe.

3. Strength and stiffness: FRP pipes need to withstand large wind loads and moments in wind energy applications, so the strength and stiffness of the pipes need to be designed with consideration to ensure that they have sufficient strength and stiffness under all conditions.

4. Buckling and creep: Since the pipe is subjected to changing wind loads in wind energy applications, the buckling and creep of the pipe under long-term stresses need to be considered.

5. Fatigue life: The fatigue life of FRP pipes is an important consideration in the design process and needs to be evaluated and predicted based on actual conditions to ensure the safety and reliability of the pipes.

6. Connection method: The connection method of FRP pipe should be fully considered the stress distribution of the pipe and the tensile strength of the connection to ensure that the connection will not become a weak point of the pipe.

Advantages and disadvantages of using FRP pipes in wind energy applications

There are many advantages of using FRP pipes in wind energy applications. They are lightweight and have high strength, which means they can support and connect heavy blades and turbine towers. Since FRP pipe materials are less prone to corrosion and damage, this also means that they can maintain a long life and service life. They are easy to process and fabricate and are relatively inexpensive. The downside is that they are relatively expensive, especially compared to other conventional materials. Also, maintenance and repair may require more skill and experience.

The following is a comparison of advantages and disadvantages:


1. Lightweight: FRP pipe is lighter compared to traditional metal pipe, making it easier to transport, install and maintain without the use of large equipment.

2. Corrosion resistance: FRP pipe has good corrosion resistance and will not rust or corrode due to prolonged exposure to the external environment, which reduces maintenance costs and downtime.

3. High strength: FRP pipes are stronger than traditional steel pipes and can withstand greater pressure and tensile forces.

4. Flexibility: FRP pipe is more capable of bending and deforming than other materials.


1. FRP pipe is relatively costly and may require more expense for purchase and installation.

2. FRP pipe has a lower modulus of elasticity and therefore requires more support. 

3. FRP pipe has a higher coefficient of thermal expansion, so this factor requires special consideration. 

4. FRP pipe may require additional smooth inner lumen coating to prevent internal debris accumulation or to reduce frictional resistance.

Case studies of FRP pipes used in wind energy applications

Case studies of FRP pipes used in wind energy applications are abundant. One important example is the wind turbine towers made of FRP tubes. These turbine towers can withstand high loads and are durable and are widely used in the manufacture of wind turbines. In addition, many studies have been conducted on the performance and durability of wind turbines and blades manufactured using FRP tube materials.

In wind energy applications, the use of FRP tubes as blades for wind turbines is a common choice. The following is a case study on the use of FRP tubes:

In a program for an energy company in Texas, USA, they used a truss structure consisting of six FRP tubes to support the blades of two wind turbines. Each FRP pipe was 75 feet in length and 3.5 feet in diameter. The tubes were manufactured by a company from Ireland and assembled on site.

These FRP pipes were selected because they are lighter, stronger, more corrosion resistant and have better damping characteristics than traditional steel structures, allowing them to better withstand the forces of the wind. In addition, they have a long life cycle and require less maintenance, reducing overall operating costs.

In actual use, these FRP pipes have shown excellent stability and durability, proving the reliability and feasibility of FRP pipes in wind energy applications.


FRP pipe materials have received a lot of attention and application in wind energy applications. Several factors need to be considered in the design and fabrication to ensure quality and sustainability.The advantages of FRP pipe materials mainly include light weight, high strength and durability, while the disadvantages are relatively high cost and maintenance difficulties. Although the use of FRP pipe material for wind energy equipment is not yet economical in terms of cost, the future application of FRP pipe material is still very promising with the advancement of technology and cost reduction.