Horizontal Axis Water Turbine Composite Blades: Damage Evaluation and Numerical Simulation


The prospective failure, under operational and bending loads, of a three-blade reinforced composite water turbine was investigated. Two different laminate stacking sequences, namely, unidirectional and cross-ply were considered. The effect of an induced delamination between the carbon fiber layers was studied to determine the propagation of delamination after 50 hours and 100 hours underwater operation. A thermography test was performed to distinguish the internal separation and measure the delamination in both lay-ups (unidirectional and cross-ply). It was determined by thermography that unidirectional blades had more delamination at the root of the blade after 50 and 100 hours of operation. A Blade Element Momentum Theory (BEMT) model was developed to analyze the hydrodynamic forces acting on the blade under different operation conditions. The BEMT output power at specific operational conditions was then validated against water tunnel power experiments. The BEMT forces at the optimum TSR then were used in a finite element model (FEM) to investigate the strain and stress response on the turbine blade. A numerical simulation was carried out to investigate the location and magnitude of the stress and the most vulnerable part of the blade. A bending test was conducted on the standard static test machine to validate the numerical simulation.

Meeting Name

Composites and Advanced Materials Expo 2017, CAMX 2017 (2017: Dec. 11-14, Orlando, FL)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Second Research Center/Lab

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2017 The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2017

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