Adaptive composites for load control in marine turbine blades

Ramona B. Barber, Craig S. Hill, Pavel F. Babuska, Alberto Aliseda, Richard Wiebe, Michael R. Motley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Marine hydrokinetic turbines typically operate in harsh, strongly dynamic conditions. All components of the turbine system must be extremely robust and able to withstand large and constantly varying loads; the long and relatively slender blades of marine turbines are especially vulnerable. Because of this, modern marine turbine blades are increasingly constructed from fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. Composite materials provide superior strength- and stiffness-to-weight ratios and improved fatigue and corrosion resistance compared to traditional metallic alloys. Additionally, it is possible to tailor the anisotropic properties of FRP composites to create an adaptive pitch mechanism that will adjust the load on the turbine in order to improve system performance, especially in off-design or varying flow conditions. In this work, qualitative fundamentals of composite structures are discussed with regards to the design of experimental scale adaptive pitch blades. The load-deformation relationship of flume-scale adaptive composite blades are characterized experimentally under static loading conditions, and dynamic loading profiles during flume testing are reported. Two sets of adaptive composite blades are compared to neutral pitch composite and rigid aluminum designs. Experimental results show significant load adjustments induced through passive pitch adaptation, suggesting that adaptive pitch composite blades could be a valuable addition to marine hydrokinetic turbine technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOcean Renewable Energy
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791857786
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventASME 2017 36th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, OMAE 2017 - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 30 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering - OMAE


ConferenceASME 2017 36th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, OMAE 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the United States Department of Defense Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Special thanks to those whose hard work and dedication made this research a success; Justin Burnett, Michelle Hickner, Noah Johnson, Brain Polagye, Andy Stewart, and Katherine Van Ness.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 ASME.


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