What is it about?

In order to increase the wind energy potential captured by modern wind turbines the length of their blades needs to be upscaled leading in the development of enormous stresses at their root. During operational and most importantly extreme conditions the whole structure is subjected to stochastic loads that hinder the fatigue life of the blades. To this end, introducing a morphing strategy, i.e., local adaptation of the blade's shape, could affect its aerodynamic characteristics to counteract the changes in wind speed, angle-of-attach etc. and alleviate the developed stresses. In this paper Shape Memory Alloy actuators in form of thin wires are introduced as a means of active adaptive control.

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Why is it important?

The research presented in the paper is quite important for two major reasons: (1) it is the first time that Shape Memory Alloy actuators are proved to have the potential to morph a wind turbine airfoil section by following prescribed time target trajectories at frequencies near 1P (2) the antagonistic actuator setup and the articulated mechanism adopted for this particular application can be further leveraged in other fields such as aerospace (morphing control surfaces in air vehicles like airplanes and UAVs), robotics (bio-inspired robotics, micro- and macro-gripping mechanisms etc.), biomedical applications ("smart"/minimally invasive surgical tools), automotive industry (morphing spoilers, adaptive air ducts etc.), to name but a few.


This publication would not have been possible without the contribution and excellent collaboration with the National Technical University of Athens and, more specifically, Drs. Riziotis and Manolas. Their background on aerodynamics and aeroelasticity proved valuable for the realization of this research. Furthermore, my interaction with them helped me understand and familiarize myself with this field and acquire a more holistic view of the overall InnWind.EU project.

Dr. Anargyros Karakalas
Texas A&M University System

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Active load alleviation potential of adaptive wind turbine blades using shape memory alloy actuators, Wind Energy, January 2019, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/we.2311.
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