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Research Papers

Structural Analysis of Wind-Turbine Blades by a Generalized Timoshenko Beam Model

[+] Author and Article Information
Alejandro D. Otero1

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931adotero@mtu.edu

Fernando L. Ponta2

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931flponta@mtu.edu

1

Present address: College of Engineering, University of Buenos Aires.

2

Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 132(1), 011015 (Jan 05, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000596 History: Received December 23, 2008; Revised November 06, 2009; Published January 05, 2010

An important aspect in wind-turbine technology nowadays is to reduce the uncertainties related to blade dynamics by the improvement of the quality of numerical simulations of the fluid-structure interaction process. A fundamental step in that direction is the implementation of structural models capable of capturing the complex features of innovative prototype blades, so that they can be tested at realistic full-scale conditions with a reasonable computational cost. To this end, we developed a code based on a modified implementation of the variational-asymptotic beam sectional (VABS) technique proposed by Hodges VABS has the capacity of reducing the geometrical complexity of the blade section into a stiffness matrix for an equivalent beam, allowing accurate modeling of the 3D structure of the blade as a 1D finite-element problem. In this paper, we report some recent results we have obtained by applying our code to full-scale composite laminate wind-turbine blades, analyzing the fundamental vibrational modes and the stress load in normal operational conditions.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 7

Rotations of the beam sections θ when the beam is subjected to a steady load in normal operational conditions (referred to a coordinate system aligned with the rotor’s plane)

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Figure 8

Amplitudes of U and θ for the first three modes of vibration around the steady-state configuration (normalized by the dominant component)

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Figure 10

The dominant stress component Z11 for three other locations along the span, i.e., 25%, 45%, and 95% (referred to the intrinsic coordinate system (X1,X2,X3)).

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Figure 9

The six components of the Jaumann–Biot–Cauchy stress tensor Z=SΓ for the section located at 60% of the blade-span (referred to the intrinsic coordinate system (X1,X2,X3))

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Figure 4

Example of triangulation for the DU 00-W2-401 airfoil section located at 18% of the blade-span. A detailed view of the triquadrilateral mesh is also shown in the inset.

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Figure 3

A 3D view of the blade geometry

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Figure 2

VABS model: schematic of the reference line, orthogonal triads, and beam sections before and after deformation (after Ref. 4)

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Figure 6

Displacements of the reference line U when the beam is subjected to a steady load in normal operational conditions (referred to a coordinate system aligned with the rotor’s plane)

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Figure 5

Example of triangulation for the DU 93-W-210 airfoil section located at 60% of the blade-span

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Figure 1

Example of blade-section structural architecture representative of current commercial blade designs. The primary structural member is a box-spar, with a substantial buildup of spar cap material between the webs. The exterior skins and internal shear webs are both sandwich constructions with triaxial fiberglass laminates separated by balsa core (from Ref. 23).

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