Optimisation of the internal structure of wind turbine blades

Research proposals

  • Research area

    Next generation materials and manufacturing

  • Institution

    Durham University

  • Research project

    Optimisation of the internal structure of wind turbine blades

  • Lead supervisor

    Dr Stefano Giani (Assistant Professor – Department of Engineering, Durham University)

  • Supervisory Team

    Dr Stefano Giani (Assistant Professor – Department of Engineering, Durham University)
    Dr Will Coombs (Associate Professor – Computational Mechanics, Durham University)

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 construction 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 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.

Download all research proposals here