Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Structural analysis and design optimization of wind turbine blades

Overall Course Objectives

Optimal design workflows are increasingly being used in the design of advanced and lightweight structures, such as wind turbine blades, airplanes, land vehicles, marine and space structures. Numerical optimization algorithms are routinely employed for determining the optimal combination of material properties and structural topology that maximize the performance of such structures.

The course aims at providing students experience on structural analysis and design optimization of wind turbine blades. The experience is also relevant for the design of a general class of large and complex composite structures.

Learning Objectives

  • Formulate an optimal design problem, i.e., identify the design variables and corresponding parameterization technique, choose suitable constraints and objective functions
  • Perform sensitivity analysis of the proposed problems
  • Estimate the optimal structural properties of a wind turbine rotor blade using some simplifying assumptions and basic load cases
  • Compute the detailed local (stresses and strains, and check composite failure criteria) and global (tip displacement and blade eigenfrequencies) structural response of the blade based on realistic load cases
  • Perform optimal structural design of laminated composite wind turbine blades using modern and robust optimization algorithms and structural analysis tools
  • Numerically solve structural optimization problems and conduct sensitivity analysis using specific optimization algorithms and techniques
  • Interpret and analyze the results from the optimization process
  • Write technical reports describing the work carried out throughout the course

Course Content

A brief introduction is presented to optimization and structural analysis methods applicable to a broad range of structures and materials. The course content focuses mostly on the practical application of these methods in design optimization of a wind turbine blade. The design workflow is based on robust and well-documented optimization and structural analysis software.

The following topics are covered during this course:

– Structural optimization with focus on relevant problem formulations.

– Optimization theory and algorithms for nonlinear optimization.

– Structural analysis of wind turbine blade using the finite element method – from a user’s and developer’s perspective.

– Overview of the iterative process underlying the design optimization of wind turbine blades with special focus on the structural design.

– Determination of the design driving load cases and its relation with the different failure phenomena observed in wind turbine blades.

Understanding and application of the above topics is achieved through projects where specific structural analysis tools and optimization algorithms are used in the structural design of wind turbine blades.

Recommended prerequisites

46411 – Design of large composite structures” is recommended. Alternatively, experience with structural analysis of (composite) structures through other courses. Experience with programming in Matlab or other programming language is expected. Some experience with numerical computations is expected. Relevant courses are e.g. “02632/02633 – Introduction to programming and data processing” or “02637 – Advanced Matlab Programming”.

Teaching Method

Lectures, exercises and individual project work.


See course in the course database.





3 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 46415
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 23
Semester end Week 26
Days Mon-fri 8:00-17:00

7.500,00 DKK