Optimisation of the Internal Structure of Wind Turbine Blades

Aura Centre for Doctoral Training

PhD scholarships in offshore wind
energy and the environment

Optimisation of the Internal Structure of Wind Turbine Blades

Project Description

Modern wind turbine blades are large structures, with complex geometries and they are subjected to a large number of aerodynamic loading cases and design constraints. Many new wind farms are under constructions and many more are planned for the future. In this context the efficiency and reliability of wind turbine blades are paramount. The topic of this project is to study ways to optimise the structural design of the blades to reduce their weight and increase their reliability. Structural optimisation (an example of which is shown to the right) techniques are frequently used as part of the design process for many applications, but the numerous design constraints that wind turbine blades are subjected makes it a hard problem. Also, the newest designs involve composite materials which add an extra layer of complexity to the problem but also new ways to optimise the design. Composite materials are characterised by a mesoscopic structure that can be highly customised opening the door to optimisation methods.

This project will deliver novel numerical techniques that allow engineers to better design wind turbine blades. In the scope of this project, the methods are applied to blade designs and the results of the optimisation process are analysed and assessed.

Academic Supervisors

Dr Stefano Giani, Durham University

Prof Will Coombs, Durham University

Please address any enquiries to auracdt@hull.ac.uk, do not contact the supervisors directly.

PG-Dip Year and PhD Research

We are seeking a candidate for this PhD scholarship with the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. The successful applicant will undertake a PG-Dip training year at the University of Hull before completing their PhD research at Durham University.

Entry requirements

If you have received a First-class Honours degree or a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters (or the international equivalents) in Engineering or Maths and have a good knowledge of finite element methods, with the ability to code in MatLab or similar programming language, we would like to hear from you.


Funding is available for Home students only. The full-time Aura CDT PhD Scholarship includes fees and maintenance (£16,062 per annum, 2022/23 rate) for four years, depending on satisfactory progress. The scholarship is available from September 2022 as a full-time position (part-time study is available). You will join Cohort 4 of the Aura CDT in Hull, in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary – the global centre for research, innovation and development for the sector. Initially, you will study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment, followed by a 3-year PhD project based at Durham University.

Applications are open until 6 June 2022. Please see our instructions on How to Apply

For an informal discussion, call +44 (0) 1482 463331
or contact auracdt@hull.ac.uk