Methodology for Fast Iterations of Blade Designs Using Thermoplastic Composite Materials: Preprint

Robynne Murray, Stephanie Ordonez-Sanchez, Song Fu, Tim O’Doherty, Cameron Johnstone, Kathryn Trubac

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Tidal energy is still in the early research and development phases, therefore the ability to quickly manufacture and evaluate prototype blades with new blade designs and materials is critical. This paper investigates using a Stratasys three-dimensional printer to rapidly prototype scale-model turbine blades by printing the blade tooling and using vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) to manufacture blades. This work outlines a methodology for cost effectively designing and manufacturing model-scale tidal turbine blades to be used in testing campaigns, and for evaluating new thermoplastic composite materials for tidal energy applications. Demonstration blades were designed in ANSYS and manufactured using an infusible thermoplastic resin system called Elium(R). The development of scale-model thermoplastic blades enables research into their fatigue performance in realistic conditions at a cost-effective scale, and manufacturing using 3-D printed tooling enables fast and low-cost blade design iterations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2019
EventEuropean Wave and Tidal Energy Conference - Napoli, Italy
Duration: 1 Sep 20196 Sep 2019


ConferenceEuropean Wave and Tidal Energy Conference
CityNapoli, Italy

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-73295


  • manufacturing
  • scale-model
  • structural validation
  • thermoplastic composites
  • tooling


Dive into the research topics of 'Methodology for Fast Iterations of Blade Designs Using Thermoplastic Composite Materials: Preprint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this