Material Research: Structural adhesives for wind energy applications


  • Mechanical characterization of thick structural adhesives under multiaxial static and fatigue loading
  • Documentation of the damage process and the failures in thick adhesive joints

Project summary

The blades are made of integrated composite parts bonded together using structural adhesives. The adhesives are used to bond the trailing and the leading edge and the shear web(s) to the spar caps. The blades are among the most severely multi-axial fatigue loaded structures and the bonded joints play a key-role in their structural integrity. Important characteristics of the bond-lines found in this application are large adhesive thicknesses and volumes, and multi-axial (fatigue) load conditions. The geometrical configuration of the bond-lines varies along the blades and it depends mainly on the design of the blade and the manufacturing tolerances. The aim of the project is to study the mechanical behaviour of structural adhesives subjected to multiaxial static and fatigue loadings and to document the damage process and the failures observed in thick adhesive joints.


Principal researcher: Dimitrios Zarouchas
Period: October 2011 - October 2013
Contact info:


D.S. Zarouchas and R.P.L. Nijssen, Mechanical behaviour of structural adhesives in wind turbine blades under multiaxial loading, International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives (submitted for publication)

D.S. Zarouchas and R.P.L. Nijssen, Crack growth in thick adhesive joints for wind turbine blades during fatigue loading, Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Structural Adhesive Bonding (AB2013), Porto, Portugal, July 2013

D.S. Zarouchas, R.P.L. Nijssen, D.R.V. van Delft, Failure analysis of structural adhesives in wind turbine blades under multiaxial loading, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Durability of Composite Systems (DURACOSYS), Brussels, Belgium, September 2012

D.S. Zarouchas, Thick adhesives, a key factor for the blade design optimization Proceedings of the International Conference on Adhesives for Wind and Solar Technology, Berlin, Germany, November 2011

Expected results

  • Experimental and numerical biaxial failure envelope
  • S-N curves

  • Documentation of the damage process in thick adhesive joints during fatigue loading


For inquiries please contact:

Knowledge Centre WMC
Kluisgat 5
1771 MV Wieringerwerf
the Netherlands
phone +31(0)227-50 49 49