The effect of delaminations on local buckling in wind turbine blades

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In this article the effect of delaminations on the load carrying capacity of a large wind turbine blade is studied numerically. For this purpose an 8.65 m long blade section with different initial delaminations in the main spar was subjected to a flapwise dominated bending moment. The model was setup in Abaqus and cohesive elements were chosen for modelling delamination growth.

For initial delaminations with a width of 30–50% of the cap width the study showed that delamination close to the surface started to grow in load ranges of normal operation conditions and led to local buckling modes. The local buckling caused high strains and stresses in the surrounding of the delamination, which exceeded the material design properties and therefore should be considered as dangerous.

Delaminations placed near the mid-surface of the cap did not have a significant effect on the blade response under normal operation conditions. In the simulations the static load exceeded the design load by more than 40% before delamination growth or cap buckling occurred.

It could be concluded that delamination induced near-surface buckling modes have to be considered critical due to an onset of local sublaminate buckling below the design load level.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRenewable Energy
Pages (from-to)295-305
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Buckling
  • Cohesive elements
  • Crack growth
  • Delamination
  • Nonlinear finite element analysis
  • Wind turbine rotor blade

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