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Aviation Enterprises Successfully Completes Static Proof Test of Composite Tidal Turbine Blade

11 November 2013

An important milestone for the tidal energy industry has been reached by the successful static proof testing of a 600kW composite tidal turbine blade. 

The 7m long blade was designed, built and tested at Aviation Enterprises (AEL). The blades use both carbon and glass epoxy matrix composites in their construction. 

During the test, conducted on AEL’s bespoke test frame, the blade sustained the maximum required proof load of 728kN without damage.  AEL has funding in place to build on this success by establishing a large fatigue test frame.  This will enable the further testing of tidal blades and other high duty composite structures.

Recently, AEL has been successful in obtaining research grants through the Carbon Trust and Technology Strategies Board (TSB).  These have enabled a rigorous and ongoing materials qualification programme, addressing in particular the combined issues of seawater immersion and high fatigue loading. 

The successful blade test, facilitated through the TSB ‘BMax’ programme represents the culmination of this process and confirms performance expectations – identical examples have been in near-continuous service for two years. The ‘BMax’ programme has also enabled AEL and its suppliers to develop and offer a new generation of composite materials optimised for cost effectiveness in high duty structures, particularly in the marine environment.  On completion of qualification testing, these materials will be available to all AEL’s customers for any application.  

AEL will be exhibiting at the Composites Engineering Show at the NEC Birmingham on 12 – 13 November 2013, from Stand B155,  






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