LM Wind Power was able to produce the prototype blades using its standard manufacturing process, though it did develop new production equipment to handle such large blades. Schuring says the blades utilize a structural shell design with two blade shells and two webs manufactured individually. Fibers are laid up together with root bushings (metal inserts on which bolts are later mounted to connect the blade to the blade bearing), then they are infused, cured and inspected before blade assembly.

During assembly, the two shells are carefully bonded together with glue over a pair of webs. “The main laminate in the shells, together with the webs, comprise a box-like structure which gives the blades the required stiffness to withstand extreme wind loads without striking the tower,” says Schuring.

Two of the six prototype blades are now undergoing structural blade testing, including fatigue testing, in accordance with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. One of the blades is at LM Wind Power’s full-scale test center in Lunderskov, Denmark, where the blades were built, and the other is 135 miles away in Aalborg.

Transporting such a huge blade was challenging, too – and caused quite a spectacle along the rural roads it traveled on June 30, 2016. A team of specialists accompanied the blade on its journey, temporarily dismantling any guardrails and sign posts when needed. The fully-loaded cargo was nearly 15 feet tall, leaving just over an inch of extra space when passing under bridges. It took more than six hours to move the blade to Aalborg.

Beginning in 2020, Adwen plans to install 62 AD 8-180 wind turbines off the coast of Saint-Brieuc, France, supplying electricity to more than 850,000 people.

Robotic Construction of an FRP Pavilion

Application: The Elytra Filament Pavilion

Contributor: University of Stuttgart

“Wow” Factor: This canopy pavilion comprises “cells” of glass and carbon fibers as the load-bearing structure, which grows in response to visitor movement underneath.

The fiberglass and carbon fiber Elytra Filament Pavilion has been center stage at the Victoria and Albert Museum (the V&A) in London since May. Displayed in the John Madejski Garden until Nov. 6, 2016, the soaring 200-square-meter pavilion was commissioned as an exhibit of the historic art and design museum’s first-ever Engineering Session, highlighting the interaction of design, architecture and engineering in daily life.

Made of robotically-wound fiberglass and carbon fiber components, the pavilion weighs less than nine kilograms per square meter (or less than 20 pounds per square foot). Its name and structure are inspired by elytra – the stiff but lightweight forewings of beetles that protect the delicate hindwings used for flying. The project is the culmination of four years of ground-breaking research conducted by architect Achim Menges’ Institute of Computational Design (ICD) and structural engineer Jan Knippers’ Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), both at the University of Stuttgart, working in tandem with Moritz Dörstelmann and climate engineer Thomas Auer from Transsolar Climate Engineering and the Technical University of Munich.