The long term reliability of tidal turbines is critical if these structures are to be cost-effective. Optimized design requires a combination of material durability models and structural analyses which must be based on realistic loading conditions.
This paper presents results from a series of flume tank measurements on strain gauged scaled turbine blades, aimed at studying these conditions. A detailed series of tests on a 3-blade horizontal axis turbine with 400 mm long blades is presented. The influence of both current and wave-current interactions on measured strains is studied. These tests show that wave-current interactions can cause large additional loading amplitudes compared to currents alone, which must be considered in the fatigue analysis of these systems.