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Fatigue Analysis and Testing of Wind Turbine Blades

GREAVES, PETER,ROBERT (2013) Fatigue Analysis and Testing of Wind Turbine Blades. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on fatigue analysis and testing of large, multi MW wind turbine blades. The blades are one of the most expensive components of a wind turbine, and their mass has cost implications for the hub, nacelle, tower and foundations of the turbine so it is important that they are not unnecessarily strong. Fatigue is often an important design driver, but fatigue of composites is poorly understood and so large safety factors are often applied to the loads. This has implications for the weight of the blade.
Full scale fatigue testing of blades is required by the design standards, and provides manufacturers with confidence that the blade will be able to survive its service life. This testing is usually performed by resonating the blade in the flapwise and edgewise directions separately, but in service these two loads occur at the same time. A fatigue testing method developed at Narec (the National Renewable Energy Centre) in the UK in which the flapwise and edgewise directions are excited simultaneously has been evaluated by comparing the Palmgren-Miner damage sum around the blade cross section after testing with the damage distribution caused by the service life.
A method to obtain the resonant test configuration that will result in the optimum mode shapes for the flapwise and edgewise directions was then developed, and simulation software was designed to allow the blade test to be simulated so that realistic comparisons between the damage distributions after different test types could be obtained.
During the course of this work the shortcomings with conventional fatigue analysis methods became apparent, and a novel method of fatigue analysis based on multi-continuum theory and the kinetic theory of fracture was developed. This method was benchmarked using physical test data from the OPTIDAT database and was applied to the analysis of a complete blade. A full scale fatigue test method based on this new analysis approach is also discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:wind turbine blades; composite materials; fatigue; kinetic theory of fracture; fatigue testing; composite fatigue; spectrum fatigue; multi-continuum theory; resonant; dual axis; optimisation; fatigue analysis; kinetic theory of strength; composites
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:28 May 2013 11:15

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