Structural performance of horizontal axis wind turbine blade

Al-Khudairi, Othman (2014) Structural performance of horizontal axis wind turbine blade. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The power output from a wind turbine is proportional to rotor swept area and as a result in the past 30 years continuous effort has been made to design larger blades. In this period, the blade length has been increased about 10 times since 1980s to present time. With the longest blade currently measuring more than 100m in length, wind turbine blade designers and manufacturers face enormous challenges to encounter the effect of increased weight and other loads on fatigue durability of the blade. Wind turbine blades are mainly made from glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP) composite. materials. As a result, in the design of various parts of wind turbine blades such as the shear web, spar cap and the aerofoil the fatigue behaviour of F RP materials is required. The performance of these parts as well as the adhesively bonded joint under fatigue loading is crucial for structural integrity of a long lasting blade. During operation, delamination can initiate and propagate shortening blade life; hence, characterisation of failure envelope of GFRP laminates under different loading mode is necessary. In this regard in this project, quasi-static tests were carried out to find mode 1, mode 11 and mixed mode I/11 delamination fracture toughness using DCB, ENF and MMB tests and the fracture envelope was established for various mode mixity. In the next stage, the stress-lifetime (S-N) diagrams of the GFRP was studied. Fatigue-life experiments on three different types of loading, i.e. tension-tension at R=0.1, 0.5, tension- compression at R=-1 and compression-compression at R=2 and R=10 were performed. From the results of S-N diagrams, the constant life diagrams (CLD) for 90 degree and 0 degree fibre directions were constructed. CLD diagrams are useful for prediction of fatigue lifetime for loading condition that no experimental data available. The analysis of delamination crack propagation under cyclic loading was next area of the research. The onset life and propagation delamination crack grth of 0//0 interface of GR P laminate in mode I loading using DCB specimens was investigated and the Gm. from the onset life test was determined. From the fitted curve to mode I experimental propagation data the Paris’ law coefficient for the laminated GFRP in mode I was determined. The mode II fatigue crack growth in laminated 0//0 GFRP material was also investigated using ENF specimens. The fatigue behaviour in this mode is analysed based on application of Paris’ law as a function of energy release rate for mode II loading. From the fitted curve to experimental data, the Paris’ law coefficient for the laminated GFRP in mode II was determined. The effect of fatigue delamination growth on fracture surface was studied by fractography analysis of SEM images of fracture surfaces. Studying the behaviour of GFRP under cyclic loading and delamination under static and dynamic load led to full-scale testing of wind turbine blade to establish damage tolerance of the blade under cyclic loading. The sensitivity of wind turbine blade to damage has considerable interest for turbine operators and manufacturers. For full-scale fatigue testing, calibration test and modal analysis of a 45.7m blade has been done and moment-strain diagram and natural frequencies of the blade were obtained. Next, the blade sensitivity to damage under fatigue loading was investigated. The blade has been damaged intentionally by initially inserting a crack of 0.2m between the shear web and spar cap and later it was extended to 1m. The effect of these damages on the modal shape, natural frequencies and strains at various locations of the blade were investigated. The damaged blade fatigue tested, the structural integrity and growth of damage were monitored, and the results were discussed. Finally for the improvement of delamination resistance for joints between spar beam and aero-shell stitching method was used. T-beam and box beam joint were chosen as the platform for testing the stitching effect on the delamination. Various pattern of stitching was applied and the optimum pattern was determined.

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