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Development of Modular Large Wind Turbine Blades


Project Description

Wind turbine blades measuring up to 85 m, are manufactured from a single piece of glass fiber and can cost up to £100,000. The transportation of these large blades requires expensive specialist machinery and often new road construction, costing ~£50,000/blade.
The objective is to manufacture these blades in 3 segments or modules, each no longer than 30 m, which would be much easier to manufacture and to transport to remote wind farm locations. The modules can then be assembled on-site to form a single blade, up to 90 m in length. The unique structural engineering inside the blade will ensure that it has the same stiffness and structural integrity as a conventional single blade.

Objectives and Milestones
The project involves modelling new conceptual designs of the modular blade with unique internal features without changing its external profile from a single blade design. Moreover, the research objectives included the techno-economic study for reducing the manufacturing and transportation cost of the wind turbine blades.

Deliverables
The major challenge of this research is to redesign the blade of the wind turban into three segments, with taken in to consideration, the concept of ensuring the structural integrity and aerodynamic performance of the modular blade after the inclusion of joints, by CAD models of blade design. In addition, the major challenge is to reduce the cost of manufacturing and transportation the blades as well as avoiding the difficult of lifting and dragging by making a business case.

Research Student Profile
Ideally, the student will have an undergraduate degree in Mechanical or Civil Engineering with experience of CAD, FEA and CFD. Experience of manufacturing samples and testing in labs will be very useful.


The Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI) is a dynamic interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to addressing industrial problems through the application of fundamental science and engineering. For information about MERI please visit https://www.shu.ac.uk/research/specialisms/materials-and-engineering-research-institute

Application deadline: applicants accepted all year round with enrolments during September, February (January on website) and May

Duration: 4 years full time, 7 years part time.

Funding Notes

Funding Status: there is no funding attached to this project. The applicant will need to fund their own tuition fees, research costs and living expenses.

For information about how to apply, entry requirements, tuition fees and other costs please visit View Website

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