This paper outlines high-fidelity experimental substructure testing of sandwich panels which constitute the aerodynamic outer shell of modern wind turbine blades. A full-scale structural experimental and numerical characterisation of a composite wind turbine blade has been conducted. The development of a full-scale numerical model is detailed, and the necessary experimental set-up is described. Further, the numerical and experimental results obtained are compared, and an idealised set of boundary conditions for a chosen blade substructure is presented. Fromthis, the development of a test rig suitable for representing the established loading and boundary conditions is presented, and some preliminary experimental results are discussed. The work provides a road map for developing high-fidelity experimental substructure tests, which in more generic terms are applicable to similar developments of substructure tests for composite wind turbine blades. Furthermore, recommendations on the use of grid-scored sandwich structures in wind turbine blades are presented, which outline the sensitivity in terms of quasi-static strength to the established loading conditions.
Strain (online), 2014, Vol 50, Issue 2, p. 111-131