• wind turbine blade;
  • buckling;
  • composite;
  • nonlinear FEA;
  • structural stability


This paper utilized the inherent directional properties of composite materials to increase the critical buckling load of a 70 m carbon/glass hybrid wind turbine blade. The effect of changing the fiber orientations of the less stiff, off-axis glass fiber plies (referred to as stability plies in this paper) was studied via nonlinear finite element buckling simulations. The orientation of the stability plies was found to influence the onset of the Brazier effect, which further influenced blade stability and buckling failure location. Although both blade weight and laminate thickness remained constant, an increase in critical buckling load of 8% was achieved with a negligible change in bending stiffness. The more stable blade allowed for removal of material leading to a decrease in maximum laminate thickness and a drop in blade mass of 3.3%. Modifications to the ply stacking sequence and carbon fiber usage were also considered and were found to affect the buckling load but not necessarily the optimum fiber orientation of the stability plies. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.