Structural design of spars for 100-m biplane wind turbine blades

TitleStructural design of spars for 100-m biplane wind turbine blades
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRoth-Johnson, Perry, Richard E. Wirz, and Edward Lin
JournalRenewable Energy
Date Published06/2014
Type of ArticleOriginal Research Article
Keywordsbeam and cross-sectional analysis, biplane inboard region, minimum total potential energy, spar design, structural efficiency, wind turbine blades
AbstractLarge wind turbine blades are being developed at lengths of 75-100 meters, in order to improve energy capture and reduce the cost of wind energy. Bending loads in the inboard region of the blade make large blade development challenging. The "biplane blade" design was proposed to use a biplane inboard region to improve the design of the inboard region and improve overall performance of large blades. This paper focuses on the design of the internal "biplane spar" structure for 100-meter biplane blades. Several spars were designed to approximate the Sandia SNL100-00 blade ("monoplane spar") and the biplane blade ("biplane spar"). Analytical and computational models are developed to analyze these spars. The analytical model used the method of minimum total potential energy; the computational model used beam finite elements with cross-sectional analysis. Simple load cases were applied to each spar and their deflections, bending moments, axial forces, and stresses were compared. Similar performance trends are identified with both the analytical and computational models. An approximate buckling analysis shows that compressive loads in the inboard biplane region do not exceed buckling loads. A parametric analysis shows biplane spar configurations have 25-35% smaller tip deflections and 75% smaller maximum root bending moments than monoplane spars of the same length and mass per unit span. Root bending moments in the biplane spar are largely relieved by axial forces in the biplane region, which are not significant in the monoplane spar. The benefits for the inboard region could lead to weight reductions in wind turbine blades. Innovations that create lighter blades can make large blades a reality, suggesting that the biplane blade may be an attractive design for large (100-meter) blades.
Refereed DesignationRefereed

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