Numerical Simulation of Lightning Strike Damage to Wind Turbine Blades and Validation against Conducted Current Test Data

Ole Thomsen, A.A.M. Laudani*, O Vryonis, PL Lewin, IO Golosnoy, J Kremer, H Klein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a novel numerical approach to simulate lightning strike damage to equipotential bonding interfaces of wind turbine blades, and model validation based on high-current testing. Modern rotor blades are equipped with metal receptors to intercept the lightning leader and metal down conductors to conduct the lightning current, preventing the direct attachment to the CFRP spars. In such conditions, damage in the form of resin thermal degradation and sparks develop inside the blade at the equipotential bonding interfaces. Excellent correlation was found between the numerical predictions and test results in terms of current and temperature distributions. High temperatures were predicted at the sparking areas observed in the tests, which suggested that the damage is thermally activated. Thermogravimetric analysis data indicated that the epoxy pyrolysis process evolves in stages, and that sparking events are often initiated by release of gases and formation of small voids at temperatures lower than expected
Original languageEnglish
Article number106708
Number of pages16
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Early online date5 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Nordex Energy GmbH and the University of Southampton, grant agreement 0179210, and by the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions - Innovative Training Networks (ITN), grant agreements 642771 (SPARCARB project) and 734629 (PATH project).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Delamination
  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA),
  • Ligaments
  • Wind turbine blade equipotential bonding


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