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Design and Construction of the Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC)

Speaker: Eric M. Hines, Principal, LeMessurier Consultants; Professor of Practice, Tufts University
Series: CEE Departmental Seminars
Location: Bowen Hall Auditorium
Date/Time: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.


The WTTC is a 45,000 sf laboratory in Charlestown, Massachusetts designed to test wind turbine blades up to 90 meters in length. It is the largest facility of its kind in the world, and plays an essential role in the development of American wind energy. The WTTC was funded in part by the United States Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (listed as No. 6 in the Reinvestment Act's top 100 projects). It is operated as a joint venture between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the National Renewable
Energy Laboratory.

The laboratory features three post-tensioned concrete test stands on which wind turbine blades can be mounted for static and dynamic testing The test stands are supported by a reaction footing that is post-tensioned in three directions and supported on 15 drilled concrete shafts extending 170 ft down to bedrock. The reaction structures were designed to withstand N = 10 cycles.

The laboratory is enclosed by eleven trussed frames 140 ft wide and 80 ft high, spaced 30 ft on center. The trussed frames are 7 ft deep, three-dimensional trusses, which are fixed at the base and self-stabilizing in all directions. The most complicated joints for these frames were carefully developed as structural steel castings in order to facilitate construction and reduce cost.

Wind Turbine Blades