New Structural Design Concepts for Large Theromoplastic Wind Turbine Blades Using Structural Optimization Techniques


 2010 AIAA SDM Student Symposium

51st AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference

12–15 April 2010, Orlando, Florida

New Structural Design Concepts for Large Thermoplastic Wind Turbine Blades Using Structural Optimization Techniques

Louis-Charles Forcier∗ and Simon Joncas†                                                                                                                          

Ecole de technologie superieure, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 1K3, Canada

This paper presents a structural optimization process for the design of large thermoplastic wind turbine blades. Previous work by one of the authors on topology optimization of a short section of a blade has shown that a structure with a box spar and ribs is optimal to minimize the compliance for a given amount of material. The optimization process presented in this paper consists of topology optimization on the inner half of a blade with the inner volume of the blade as the design domain. Result of this problem (number and position of shear webs and ribs) are then interpreted to build a shell model of the complete blade to perform composite size optimization based on a minimum mass objective subjected to constraints on deflection, composite strength and structural stability. Different blade models using ribs are then optimized and compared against conventional blade structure (spar box without ribs, single web without ribs). The use of ribs in wind turbine blade structures, which is more adapted to thermoplastic composite manufacturing, leads to slightly lighter blades than conventional blade structures.

The entire article may be purchased by:

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Paper AIAA-2010-2578

About the authors:

Simon Joncas, is Assistant professor at Ecole de Technologie Superieure (ETS), Department of Automated Manufacturing Engineering, in Montreal (Quebec, Canada).  Simon has developed over the years a good understanding of forces and moments that wind turbine blades have to support. He has started cooperation with Altair in 2003, when he applied optimization techniques available in OptiStruct for preliminary design of large wind turbines blades.

In 2008, Louis-Charles Forcier, graduate student from ETS under Simon supervision, was initiated to OptiStruct in order to use this technology for further design inner blade structure. Extensive use of topology and size optimization has been done to deliver a completed design.

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