Doctoral Dissertations


Haifeng Li

Keywords and Phrases

Composite Blade; Finite Element Analysis; Hydrokinetic Turbine; Reliablity Based Fatigue; Structural Optimization; Water Tunnel Testing


"The utilization of kinetic energy from the river is promising as an attractive alternative to other available renewable energy resources. Hydrokinetic turbine systems are advantageous over traditional dam based hydropower systems due to "zero-head" and mobility. The objective of this study is to design and analyze hydrokinetic composite turbine system in operation. Fatigue study and structural optimization of composite turbine blades were conducted. System level performance of the composite hydrokinetic turbine was evaluated. A fully-coupled blade element momentum-finite element method algorithm has been developed to compute the stress response of the turbine blade subjected to hydrodynamic and buoyancy loadings during operation. Loadings on the blade were validated with commercial software simulation results. Reliability-based fatigue life of the designed composite blade was investigated. A particle swarm based structural optimization model was developed to optimize the weight and structural performance of laminated composite hydrokinetic turbine blades. The online iterative optimization process couples the three-dimensional comprehensive finite element model of the blade with real-time particle swarm optimization (PSO). The composite blade after optimization possesses much less weight and better load-carrying capability. Finally, the model developed has been extended to design and evaluate the performance of a three-blade horizontal axis hydrokinetic composite turbine system. Flow behavior around the blade and power/power efficiency of the system was characterized by simulation. Laboratory water tunnel testing was performed and simulation results were validated by experimental findings. The work performed provides a valuable procedure for the design and analysis of hydrokinetic composite turbine systems"--Abstract, page iv.


Chandrashekhara, K.

Committee Member(s)

Du, Xiaoping
Rovey, Joshua L.
Kimball, Jonathan W.
Watkins, Steve E., 1960-


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date


Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Reliability-based fatigue life investigation for a medium-scale composite hydrokinetic turbine blade
  • Particle swarm based structural optimization of laminated composite hydrokinetic turbine blades
  • Design and performance evaluation of a hydrokinetic composite turbine system


xii, 145 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references.


© 2014 Haifeng Li, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Hydraulic turbines -- Testing
Water tunnels -- Testing
Structural optimization
Structural health monitoring

Thesis Number

T 10856

Electronic OCLC #