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A 3D Finite Beam Element for the Modelling of Composite Wind Turbine Wings (Civil Project)

The main purpose of this thesis is to develop a 3D beam element in order to model wind turbine wings made of composite materials.

The proposed element is partly based on the formulation of the classical beam element of constant cross-section without shear deformation (Euler-Bernoulli) and including Saint-Venant torsional effects for isotropic materials, similarly to the one presented in Batoz & Dhatt. The main novelty consists in the addition of the coupling between axial and bending with torsional effects that may arise when using composite materials.

PreComp, a free access code developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to provide structural properties for composite blades, is used to obtain the section properties for the beam element. Its performance is assessed, showing its inaccuracy especially when calculating torsional related constants when webs are present in the cross-section.

Shell models of constant cross-section cantilever blades are developed to assess the performance of the beam elements, including or not coupling terms. Natural frequencies and displacements under static loads are compared for different study cases of increasing complexity.

For fiber-reinforced materials, elements with coupling terms show good agreement with the shell model, especially for the dynamic problem. Elements without coupling terms are unable to capture the dynamic behavior, as these terms seem to have a higher effect on the results when compared to the static case (especially the FT term).
Source: KTH
Author: De Frias Lopez, Ricardo

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