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

Maes, Vincent K.; Macquart, Terence; Weaver, Paul M.; Pirrera, Alberto

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.

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Maes, Vincent K. / Macquart, Terence / Weaver, Paul M. / et al: Sensitivity of cross-sectional compliance to manufacturing tolerances for wind turbine blades. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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