Material and structural characterization of a wind turbine blade for use as a bridge girder

Kieran Ruane, Zoe Zhang, Angela Nagle, An Huynh, Ammar Alshannaq, Asha McDonald, Paul Leahy, Marios Soutsos, Jennifer McKinley, Russell Gentry, Lawrence Bank*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials have been used in a variety of civil and infrastructure applications since the early1980s, including in wind turbine blades. The world is now confronting the problem of how to dispose of decommissioned blades in an environmentally sustainable manner. One proposed solution is to repurpose the blades for use in new structures. One promising repurposing application is in pedestrian and cycle bridges. This paper reports on the characterization of a 13.4-m long FRP wind blade manufactured by LM Windpower (Kolding, Demark) in 1994. Two blades of this type were used as girders for a pedestrian bridge on a greenway (walking and biking trail) in Cork, Ireland. The as-received geometric, material, and structural properties of the 27 year-old blade were obtained for use in the structural design of the bridge. The material tests included physical (volume fraction and laminate architecture) and mechanical (tension and compression) tests at multiple locations. Full-scale flexural testing of a 4-m long section of the blade between 7 and 11 m from the root of the blade was performed to determine the load-deflection behavior, ultimate capacity, strain history, and failure modes when loaded to failure. Key details of the testing and the results are provided. The results of the testing revealed that the FRP material is still in excellent condition and that the blade has the strength and stiffness in flexure to serve as a girder for the bridge constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-362
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number8
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2022


  • FRP
  • Infrastructure
  • Innovative highway structures and appurtenances
  • Structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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