Structural efficiency of a wind turbine blade

Neil P Buckney*, Alberto Pirrera, Steven D Green, Paul M Weaver

*Corresponding author for this work

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

42 Citations (Scopus)


Alternative structural layouts for wind turbine blades are investigated with the aim of improving their design, minimizing weight and reducing the cost of wind energy. New concepts were identified using topology optimization techniques on a 45 m wind turbine blade. Additionally, non-dimensional structural shape factors were developed for non-symmetric sections under biaxial bending to evaluate structural concepts in terms of ability to maximize stiffness and minimize stress. The topology optimization evolves a structure which transforms along the length of the blade, changing from a design with spar caps at the maximum thickness and a trailing edge mass, to a design with offset spar caps toward the tip. The shape factors indicate that the trailing edge reinforcement and the offset spar cap topology are both more efficient at maximizing stiffness and minimizing stress. In summary, an alternative structural layout for a wind turbine blade has been found and structural shape factors have been developed, which can quantitatively assess the structural efficiency under asymmetric bending.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144–154
Number of pages11
JournalThin-Walled Structures
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2013


  • Shape factors
  • Structural efficiency
  • Topology optimization
  • Wind turbine blade


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