Multiscale design optimisation of wind turbine blade composite for tuneable mechanical properties

Research projects

Project Description:

This Research Project is part of the Aura CDT’s research for optimisation and reliability of wind turbine systems and components¬†Cluster.

The project aims to translate recent developments in multi-filament 3D woven composite material technology into the turbine to enable the creation of larger and more robust wind turbine blades. Recent  advances in multi-filament and multi-yarn technologies and the introduction of sustainable and biologically sourced yarn materials enable the manufacturing more complex panels and blades with spatially varying properties and characteristics. Such an ability to fine-tune the properties across the plates might be fundamental for developing much larger structures with bespoke compliant features to reduce vorticity and undesired fluidic effects while enabling the incorporation of sustainable yarn materials and novel bio-resins.

The project’s goals are:

  1. Creating a parametric unit cell encompassing the key features of 3D woven material technologies;
  2. Developing efficient parametrisation of unit cells using concepts akin to Fourier representation, consisting of basis functions, with shapes following stress paths inside the material;
  3. Develop a computational model of the 3-D woven component using the parameterisation based on basis functions with a prescribed variation of mechanical properties across the blade as is required by its functional and fluidic loads;
  4. Create a benchmark wind turbine computational model with a specific set of optimisation objective functions such as weight minimisation for the given set of loads;
  5. Perform parametric optimisation of the blade structure using a finite set of basis functions, including an intermediate step of homogenising microscale properties into higher level elasticity and damage tensors and performing large-scale, blade simulations;
  6. Disseminate the optimisation toolkit as the demonstrator, which can be used with one of the existing commercial software packages and modified by other users to integrate it into their workflows.

For an informal discussion, call +44 (0) 1482 463331
or contact