HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
News
Materials & Assembly

Composites Strengthen Wind Turbine Blades

NO RATINGS
< Previous Page 2 / 2
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Beth Stackpole   3/12/2012 8:03:06 AM
NO RATINGS
Seems like the Bayer MaterialScience technology has a lot of promise in terms of promoting wind turbine blade design. Along with materials, simulation software is also playing a huge role in perfecting wind turbine blade design and for pushing for much bigger, higher capacity blades. Click here to read about Sandia National Labs' research project effort to build a 100m blade, which in a traditional three-bladed turbine design, would take up a footprint of about two-and-a-half football fields in size. The massive blade is aimed at off-shore turbines.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Ann R. Thryft   3/12/2012 1:02:39 PM
NO RATINGS

Thanks Beth for weighing in about the simulation software used for wind turbine blade design. I would think that designing blades, root rings and other components of wind turbines must be quite a challenge, especially in alternative materials. It only makes sense that software is part of the design engineer's toolkit for making bigger blades possible.


Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Beth Stackpole   3/12/2012 1:36:07 PM
NO RATINGS
Absolutely Ann, there issues around aerodynamics and airflow as well as structural integrity and reduction in weight--all key factors that can be explored and optimzed in the virtural world with FEA, CFD, and other CAE software. With simulation, designers of these wind turbine blades can test out many more design options virtually, prior to investing the money to build physical prototypes, which is a huge expense, especially with the growing size of these blades and with all the new composite materials, which are costly.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Ann R. Thryft   3/12/2012 1:48:15 PM
NO RATINGS

Sounds like the ability to design blades and other components using composites is probably highly dependent on that simulation ability. No doubt this is also a major contributing factor to why there's a big increase in the use of composites in so many apps, not just the fact that there are so many more versions of composite materials to choose from. Thanks for the info.


LouisDE
User Rank
Iron
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
LouisDE   3/13/2012 9:41:03 AM
NO RATINGS
A bit off topic, but the dynamics of blade design aside, what will harnessing wind power do to the normal flow of air and ultimately the climate? 



Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Ann R. Thryft   3/22/2012 2:50:44 PM
NO RATINGS

Louis, I have wondered the same thing myself. I know that there's been a lot of debate about the harm done to birds, and I have read of some efforts to ameliorate those effects.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Rob Spiegel   3/12/2012 2:58:59 PM
NO RATINGS
Nice article, Ann. Turbines keep getting more efficient and more effective. Another area of research is going to create turbine blades that are optimized to gain the most of the wind. The blades are controlled to change position as the wind direction and velocity changes, the goal being to get the most efficient use of the wind at all times.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Ann R. Thryft   3/12/2012 3:10:50 PM
NO RATINGS

Thanks for the input. Rob. I know you've written about alternative energy sources like wind turbines, which are relatively new to me. Making them larger makes sense, but solving the weight-to-size ratio problem sounds pretty major. I bet the CAE software has made a big difference there. And I bet it's also key in figuring out how to design the blades that optimize wind, as you describe.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Rob Spiegel   3/12/2012 3:15:17 PM
NO RATINGS
So far the tools to control the blades for optimum turn is still on the drawing table. Yet I can certainly see the need for it after driving by so many turbines that are sitting idle just because the wind isn't blowing in the right direction. I would imagine we'll see a ton of development in wind in the coming years.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Ann R. Thryft   3/12/2012 3:25:43 PM
NO RATINGS

Oh, I get it. I didn't realize you meant not only getting the most out of a particular gust of wind, but keeping them going in the first place, so they are turning whenever there's wind instead of staying idle just because there's wind but not going the right way.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Rob Spiegel   3/13/2012 2:18:50 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes, the technology that's getting developed in one of those gov/industry/university projects works to grab winds that are not pointing in such a way as to spin stationary blades while at the same time optimizing the spin by adjusting the blade positions.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Beth Stackpole   3/13/2012 11:29:46 AM
NO RATINGS
Funny you should raise the issue of idle turbine blades. We have one fairly large wind turbine located in my town and I have say, most of the time I drive by it, it sits idle. We live in a coastal community and the wind turbine is fairly near a pretty good size river that flows directly into the Atlantic. Needless to say, coastal winds are a big deal here. Again, despite the proximity to all this, the blades are spinning far less than I ever thought they would.

That said, I imagine the turning of the blades to adapt to wind direction has to be where it's at for future development. I would guess in addition to CAD and CAE software, intelligent sensors, embedded software, and some sort of accelerometer technology would be critical, perhaps??

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2012 12:34:24 PM
NO RATINGS

Aldo, thanks for your input on the complex algorithms required to optimize the operation and performance of components such as blades. Beth, I'd also think that motion sensors and accelerometers would probably also be involved.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Rob Spiegel   3/13/2012 2:45:22 PM
NO RATINGS

Yep, Beth, that makes sense to use that technology to get the blades to follow the wind. It seems a natural direction to go in developing wind turbines. In a decade or two, our current wind tools may look quite primitive. We're probably only getting 10 or 15 percent of the possible energy from our current turbines.

kenish
User Rank
Platinum
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
kenish   3/13/2012 3:03:05 PM
NO RATINGS
There's a huge wind farm near Palm Springs.  It's interesting that 20+ years ago there were 10-12 distinctly different turbine designs.  Nowadays about the only design in use is the 3-bladed turbine on a monopole mast.  Only the size varies.

My understanding is turbines are often deliberately "parked".  At low speeds the revenue from the power does not make up for the per-hour operating costs (wear and tear, maintenance, etc).  I'm sure the windspeed threshold will decrease as the turbines become more reliable and/or power costs per kWh increase.  (Southern California has very high electricity rates but also a surprising amount of wind power thanks to our topography).

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Rob Spiegel   3/13/2012 3:20:04 PM
NO RATINGS
Good points, Kenish. It will be interesting to see whether power costs increase. I would imagine conservation over the past few years must be having some impact. However, if EVs and Hybrids become plentiful, there will be more draw on the grid.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: CAE plays a role in wind turbine blade design as well
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2012 3:27:09 PM
NO RATINGS

Thanks, kenish for that insight. I would guess that, with bigger blades, better optimization technology and possibly also an increase in power costs, that threshold will go up quite a bit.


apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Individual pitch blade control
apresher   3/12/2012 4:45:32 PM
NO RATINGS
1 saves
Blade control is one of the areas where potential technology developments  could improve the efficiency of wind turbines.  Today, most turbines are using independent pitch control where each blade is independently controlled by a servo actuator. But all of the blades respond to the same command as they go through their cycle. Individual pitch blade control provides real-time feedback from blades or monitoring devices, and one approach is to embed sensors into the blades for real time load feedback. The system closes the loop at the turbine level using that feedback to significantly reduce the load variation from blade to blade. The result is an ability to handle peak gusts better and more quickly.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Individual pitch blade control
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2012 12:35:26 PM
NO RATINGS

Al, thanks for the added details on improving turbine blade design. And you're right, the weight reduction seems to be the big deal here for composite blades, especially as they get a lot larger.

Chuck, no data of that kind was attached to the press release, but Bayer's site is pretty extensive and they may well have MDS or other such spec info located there.


Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Individual pitch blade control
Ann R. Thryft   3/22/2012 2:58:45 PM
NO RATINGS

Thanks, Al, for that info about independent pitch control for responding to gusts faster and handling them better. And Aldo, thanks for the input about using genetic algorithm programming techniques for increasing efficiency.

As a side note, I was watching an episode of Terra Nova last week and suddenly noticed that the wind turbines they depicted as right inside the village were insanely small and incapable of providing the power they need, even when combined with solar panels. Of course, they would have had to put large enough turbines way outside the village, where they'd presumably get destroyed by marauding dinos.


apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Significance of Weight
apresher   3/12/2012 4:49:40 PM
NO RATINGS
I would also expect that reducing the weight of the blades could help boost overall performance. With the emphasis on offshore installations and much larger turbines, the weight of the blades is a huge factor for design, installation and maintenance.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Good numbers
Charles Murray   3/12/2012 7:18:11 PM
NO RATINGS
Great article, Ann. Any idea how the tensile fatigue and fracture toughness compare to steel?

Aldo Agraz
User Rank
Iron
Wind power is becoming more competitive thanks to technological innovation
Aldo Agraz   3/13/2012 2:50:15 AM
NO RATINGS
Hi, this is interesting for the energy industry because wind power is highly expected to become a major source or energy for many countries. Nowadays it is very attractive for investors to invest in a wind power plant when the resource is good instead of investing in a fossil fuel utility plant. I have studied new methods for optimization of turbine components like blades by using programming techniques like genetic algorithms combined with CAD/CAE software to increase efficiency of energy conversion, reduce size and weight of components and making the technology more affordable. More information about genetic algorithms used for wind blade development can be read in the following link: http://mozart.dis.ulpgc.es/Gias/Publications/mendez-greiner.pdf

LouisDE
User Rank
Iron
weight of blades
LouisDE   3/22/2012 3:17:48 PM
NO RATINGS
At what point does the loss of mass in the blades and thus the loss of the flywheel effect begin to outweigh the benefits of lighter blades that start to spin faster in lighter wind, but stop sooner with the loss of wind?    As to the birds, that is a good point, however,  I was more interested in the affect on the climate when wind patterns are altered.   I know that darn butterfly that flapped his wings in China last year caused us to have an unusually warm summer. >mild attempt at humor<

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: weight of blades
Ann R. Thryft   3/22/2012 4:40:36 PM
NO RATINGS

Louis, I would find it tough to believe that we've got enough wind turbines on the planet yet to have an affect on climate, which is macro-scale, although it's an interesting question whether they might have an effect on weather, which is a local phenomenon. 


LouisDE
User Rank
Iron
Re: weight of blades
LouisDE   3/22/2012 5:03:41 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, that brought a smile to my face ... "yet". 

For sure, there are not that many in use to cause a major change in the climate, but the use of the word ""yet" implies there could be. 

For sure, setting up a windmill directly in front of another windmill would be foolish, as the energy removed by the first unit will never reach the second. That said, what affect will removing <enter the energy amount of your choice here> have on the climate long term?  I posed the question only as it is an unknown to consider as we search for alternative sources to meet the ever-growing power needs of society.    

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: weight of blades
Ann R. Thryft   3/23/2012 12:42:55 PM
NO RATINGS

I had the same question--will the use of wind turbines get to a scale where what they are doing interferes with, or at least somehow affects, larger-scale wind patterns, i.e., climate. I suspect this has already been at least considered, if not studied yet.


Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Adam Berger hacked a computer keyboard into a mini key-tar to play with his band.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
If you're planning to develop a product that uses a microcontroller, you'll want to take note of next week's Design News Continuing Education course, "MCU Software Development A Step-by-Step Guide."
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 22 - 26, MCU Software Development A Step-by-Step Guide (Using a Real Eval Board)
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service