Material research: Thick laminates


  • Study the thickness effect for composite laminates in static and fatigue loading
  • Understand the different parameters involve in the thickness effect:
    • Self-heating under fatigue
    • Manufacturing influence
    • Scale-up effect
    • Coupon design
    • Study the loss factor in fatigue
  • Build knowledge for scale 1:1 tests in the 30MN frame test

Project summary

On account of the increasing presence of thick laminates in the main parts of the present and future wind turbines blades and other applications, a more comprehensive study on thick laminates behaviour, testing, design and properties is required in comparison with standard thin laminates. The aim of the project is to identify and address the main differences in and effects on fatigue behaviour of large laminate thicknesses. Questions such as thick laminates static allowable and fatigue life prediction, design rules, scaling effect on laminates, self-heating in fatigue loading or the manufacturing process influence on the final laminate properties, are a matter of interest for this work. The project is divided in different topics, (See the diagram)

  • Design of thickness scaled coupon for fatigue and static tests. 3D, scaling effects and design parameters influence on thick laminates testing coupons
  • Static and fatigue thickness scaled tests from 2 to 30 mm
  • Study manufacturing process influence on thick laminates mechanical properties through thickness
  • Self-heating in thick laminates and its influence on static, dynamic and fatigue mechanical properties
  • Study of the loss factor in thickness scaled tests and crack growth tests

Expected results

  • Coupon design and test frame setup for thick laminate coupons
  • Static and fatigue tests for laminate thicknesses from 4 to 30mm
  • Results on the self-heating effect in thick laminates
  • Study of the loss factor as a fatigue indicator
  • Study of the manufacturing influence in the thickness effect


Principal researcher: Francisco Lahuerta Calahorra
Period: October 1, 2011 - October 1-2015
Project funded by: ADEM
Supervision: R. Nijssen (WMC), Frans van der Meer (TUDelft), Bert Sluys (TUDelft)
Contact info:


F. Lahuerta, T. Westphal, R.P.L. Nijssen "Self-heating forecasting for thick laminates testing coupons in fatigue" The Science of Making Torque from Wind, Torque 2012 (Oldenburg)

F. Lahuerta, S. Raijmaekers, J.J. Kuiken, T. Westphal, R.P.L. Nijssen "Automated delamination length video tracking in static and fatigue DCB tests" 6th International Conference on Composites Testing and Model Identification, COMPTEST 2013 (Aalborg)


For inquiries please contact:

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