Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Strength and fatigue testing of rotors of large size wind turbines (S&FAT)

Turbine performance may be improved through the use of fatigue life analysis in the design stage. This method is, however, unreliable. The strength and fatigue test developed and tested in this project provides a considerably more reliable test procedure for turbine rotors.

If wind energy is to make a significant contribution to electricity production then the generating cost needs to be further reduced. This can be achieved through reducing manufacturing costs, by improving the system and by increasing structural reliability. Machines improvements can come through the use of fatigue life analysis at the design stage. One way of making turbine rotors cheaper is by making them lighter. New designs must be checked using an approval test to guarantee the blade against failure due to fatigue or strength. The currently used fatigue life analysis is quite unreliable.

One method which can reliably prove the reliability of a rotor design is full-scale strength and fatigue testing. These tests may also be required in future by the certification authorities to obtain a full type certificate. This project aimed to determine recommended procedures and requirements for strength and fatigue tests of rotor blades and the test methods (requirements and limitations), in particular the fatigue test spectrum. These tests were developed with the needs of the manufacturers and the certification authorities in mind. The project was also intended to demonstrate these concepts through full-scale testing on two identical rotor blades of 20 metres diameter.

Reported by

ECN - Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands
Westerduinweg 3
1755ZG Petten
Netherlands
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