Wind Turbine Blade Selection


Wind turbine blades are an important component of a wind turbine. Generally, a wind turbine includes a rotating shaft that has several blades attached. The rotor is mounted on a housing or nacelle, which is positioned on top of a truss or tubular tower. Wind turbine blades are very similar in function to glider wings. Both are designed for maximum lift and efficiency with minimum drag. Wind turbine blades can be highly sophisticated products, composed of a variety of materials and composites. They are safety relevant components and; therefore, quality control is an important consideration.

Wind Turbine Blades are Designed for Specific Applications
Optimizing blade characteristics for prevailing operational conditions is paramount to increase efficiency. The blades are built specially to suit each turbine type, in close collaboration with turbine owners. Low speed wind generators will normally have longer rotor blades or a larger number of shorter, wider blades. High speed generators are usually built with stronger material, and will have narrow, relatively short blades. Generally, a blade consists of two shells which are bonded together with a structural adhesive. The internal structure comprises two different geometries which can require two different adhesive chemistries.

Wind Turbine Blades Must Withstand Severe Conditions
Wind turbine blades are designed to stand up to some incredibly nasty conditions for many years without failure. An example of this would be the wind farms near Tehachapi, California where they get some wickedly high winds, but are also at the edge of a desert. Wind turbine blades can stall at low speeds, but current designs include features to prevent this from happening.

Wind Turbine Blades Are Shaped Like Airfoils
Wind turbine blades are generally shaped, like the airplane wings. Much of the performance of wind turbine blades is derived from aerodynamic optimization of the blade shape and dynamics. The blades usually have a twist to their shape, necessary because the blades move faster at the outer ends and slower at the bottom, toward the hub. Blade failure can be very expensive, because damage to other blades or wind turbines can occur. Wind turbine blades are one of the key turbine components that benefit from improvements in technology.

Wind turbine blades are a critical component in the design of wind turbines. Wind blades are designed for specific applications, and must withstand potentially severe operating conditions. Modern wind blades are shaped like airfoils to maximize lift, minimize drag, and maximize efficiency. As part of a DIY wind turbine project, individual wind turbine blades can be built. New or replacement wind turbine blades can also be purchased.