Lightweight Design of casted structural components in wind turbines

  Project scope Copyright: © IWM


Felix Weber © Copyright: IWM


Felix Weber

Research field Micromechanics


+49 241 80 99550




Renewable energies are constantly being developed further, and the wind power sector is also affected by this. As a result, the output of individual wind turbines (WTGs) continues to rise. At present, around 20 t of cast iron per megawatt hour are used, which means that nacelle weights are reached in high-performance WTGs, making a more massive construction of load-bearing structures necessary. This in turn leads to an almost proportional cost development with regard to manufacturing and installation.


The aim of the project is to reduce the weight of cast structural components in WTGs by 20% in relation to the state of the art, so that an overall economic optimisation is achieved.

Project contents

  • Material Catalogue: Discussion of different cast iron grades and comparison of manufacturing specifications and design specifications.
  • Local stressability: Determination of the material resistance in the static and cyclic case for different microstructures. Subsequently, analytical correlation of these. Additionally, development of numerical models for the prediction of microstructure-dependent material properties
  • Component design: Development of a simulation chain for topology optimization of cast structural components in WTGs. Topology optimization of the demonstrator components torque arm, hollow rotor shaft and planet carrier.
  • Component manufacturing: casting of the demonstrator components in original or scaled scales.
  • Component verification: Realistic testing of the hollow rotor shaft / torque support on a WTG system test rig. Testing of the planet carrier on a component test bench.
  • Feasibility study: Analysis of the transferability of the findings gained to other cast structural components and economic feasibility study.

Project partners

Research agencies: IWM, CWD, SLA, Access

Supported partners: Eisengiesserei Torgelow GmbH, MAGMA GmbH, Friedrich Wilhelms-Hütte Eisenguss GmbH

Partners: Vestas Wind Systems A/S, bdguss e.V., Dossmann GmbH, FVA e.V., Buchholz & Cie. Giesserei GmbH, ZF Wind Power Antwerpen NV, Flender GmbH, ADI Technik GmbH


Funding information

Grant number: 0324279A