Structural Design of a 1/5th Scale Gravo-Aeroelastically Scaled Wind Turbine Demonstrator Blade for Field Testing

Christopher Bay, Shulong Yao, D. Griffith, Mayank Chetan, Meghan Kaminski, Eric Loth, Rick Damiani

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

15 Scopus Citations


This paper presents the structural design of a 21-meter 1/5th scale SUMR demonstrator (SUMR-D) blade, which was designed to replicate the full-scale behavior of a 104-meter SUMR13 initial blade rated at 13.2 MW. This is a challenging structural design as two competing objectives were required including the traditional safety objectives and novel scaling objectives based on gravo-aeroelastic scaling (GAS) requirements. To satisfy the two competing requirements, the spar cap, shear webs and materials were optimized while also ensuring a manufacturable and cost-effective design solution. Based on the wind turbine operating conditions of the test site, which is the NWTC, the blade was analyzed under the extreme loading case and corresponding safety factors were applied. The final blade model had an acceptable maximum strain, buckling performance, and displayed a safe level of deflection under the extreme loading condition. The flutter speed and fatigue life of the blade were also vetted. The mode shape was analyzed for the installation of the blade sensors. This paper documents the structural design process of SUMR-D to achieve both the safety and scaling objectives. At the end, we provide an acceptable solution to control blade mass, limiting the blade deflection, blade max strain and buckling under extreme loading condition by optimizing spar cap, shear web, and core materials while satisfying scaling requirements.

Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2019
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 7 Jan 201911 Jan 2019


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-74408


  • aeroelasticity
  • blades
  • structural design
  • wind turbines


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