Trends in the Design, Manufacture and Evaluation of Wind Turbine Blades

Paul S. Veers, Thomas D. Ashwill, Herbert J. Sutherland, Daniel L. Laird, Donald W. Lobitz, Dayton A. Griffin, John F. Mandell, Walter D. Músial, Kevin Jackson, Michael Zuteck, Antonio Miravete, Stephen W. Tsai, James L. Richmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus Citations


Wind turbine blades continue to be the target of technological improvements by the use of better designs, materials, manufacturing, analysis and testing. As the size of turbines has grown over the past decade, designers have restrained the associated growth in blade weight to less than would have been possible through simple scaling-up of past approaches. These past improvements are briefly summarized. Manufacturing trends and design drivers are presented, as are the ways these design drivers have changed. Issues related to blade material choices are described, first for the currently dominant glass fibre technology and then for the potential use of carbon fibres. Some possible directions for future blade design options are presented, namely new planforms, aerofoils and aeroelastic tailoring. The significant improvement in sophistication of stress analysis and full-scale blade testing are also discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalWind Energy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-500-35482


  • Blade design
  • Blades
  • Fatigue
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials
  • Stress analysis
  • Testing


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