Geometric Analysis of Small Wind Turbine Blades Manufactured by Additive Manufacturing

Heitor Andrade Porto, Carlos Alberto Fortulan, Arthur José Vieira Porto, Roberto Hideaki Tsunaki

Abstract


One of the many benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) is to produce parts ready to assemble and use, a concept called direct digital manufacturing (DDM). This, besides the ease of manufacturing complexes geometries, creates a potential for applying the AM technology for producing small wind turbines (SWT) blades. Small wind turbines have an increasing role in the worldwide energy matrix, which can be built up by developing site-optimized and customized turbines. Customizing SWT can increase the energy harvesting potential of such machines; however, it requires flexible manufacturing procedures. The blade’s geometric complexity and flexible manufacturing are features that can benefit from the potentials of AM. This work analyses the final geometry of SWT blades manufactured by AM, assessing the scope of DDM in the SWT field. The parts length is 225 mm, the blades were manufactured by the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) method using a Dimension Elite machine produced by Stratasys. The geometric evaluation was performed using a CROMA coordinate measuring machine. The measurements showed good results when compared to values adopted in several studies that investigated the effects of geometric disturbances on wind turbine blades. This work affirms that AM is a powerful technology for manufacturing SWT blades in a DDM scope.

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