University of Limerick
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Sensitivity of cross-sectional compliance to manufacturing tolerances for wind turbine blades

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-14, 11:48 authored by Vincent K. Maes, Terence Macquart, Paul WeaverPaul Weaver, Alberto Pirrera

Wind turbine blades are complex structures and, despite advancements in analysis techniques, differences persist between predictions of their elastic response and experimental results. This undermines confidence in the ability to reliably design and certify novel blade designs that include self-regulating features like bend– twist coupling. To address these discrepancies, this study investigates the influence of manufacturing tolerances on the compliance properties of blade cross-sections, focusing specifically on a previously disregarded feature: the trailing edge bondline. To conduct this investigation, the validated cross-sectional modelling tools BECAS and VABS are used to demonstrate that even small geometric variations can have significant influence on cross-sectional stiffness properties. The results are further examined and substantiated through the utilisation of 3D finite element models, adopting both shell and solid elements. We reaffirm that an accurate geometric representation of the cross-section is necessary to adequately capture the shear flow within it and assure accurate predictions on cross-sectional stiffness properties, providing updated guidelines for designers in industry.


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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Wind Energy Science 9, pp. 165–180,


Copernicus Publications

Other Funding information

Vestas Wind Systems A/S and co-funded by Vestas Wind Systems A/S

Also affiliated with

  • Bernal Institute

Sustainable development goals

  • (7) Affordable and Clean Energy

Department or School

  • School of Engineering

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