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Aidan Duffy

Research Postgraduate – Fluid Mechanics Node

Research Postgraduate – Fluid Mechanics Node in the Department of Engineering


Aidan is a PhD student at Durham University. His research focuses on the effects leading edge erosion has on the efficiency of wind turbine operation.


Aidan graduated with an Meng (Hons) in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Liverpool in 2017 before Joining Durham University as a PhD student in 2019. His project is part of the EPSRC Prosperity Partnership: A New Partnership in Offshore Wind.

Research Project

Leading edge erosion on leading edge of wind turbine blades is caused by the repetitive impact of particulate matter, such as rain droplets. This phenomenon is most evident in regions toward the tip of the blades, where rotational speeds are largest and approach 100ms-1. Erosion is often accelerated in offshore environments due to more severe weather, while access to these environments to monitor erosion progression is more difficult and more expensive. Changes to the geometry of the leading edge due to erosion result in decreased lift and increased drag, which leads to a reduction in the energy produced by the wind turbine. By combining operational, environmental, and material properties, this project seeks to provide a tool for modelling and predicting erosion progression on wind turbine blades over their operational lifetime. Using outputs from this model, experimental testing and computational simulations will be conducted to establish the decreases in aerodynamic efficiency associated with leading edge erosion over the operational life of a wind turbine blade. Aerodynamic data will be used to establish how annual energy production varies. Accessing annual energy production variations is important for operators of wind farms in order to determine the most cost-effective approach to managing repairs of erosion, where there are significant associated costs, and providing energy at the lowest price to the consumer. This project benefits from the input of project partners at Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.