Volume 3, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: Wind Energy Science Conference 2017

Wind Energ. Sci., 3, 163-172, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research articles 03 Apr 2018

Research articles | 03 Apr 2018

Benefits of subcomponent over full-scale blade testing elaborated on a trailing-edge bond line design validation

Malo Rosemeier, Gregor Basters, and Alexandros Antoniou Malo Rosemeier et al.
  • Division Structural Components, Fraunhofer IWES, Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems, Am Seedeich 45, 27572 Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. Wind turbine rotor blades are designed and certified according to the current IEC (2012) (International Electrotechnical Commission) and DNV GL AS (2015) (Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd Aksjeselskap) standards, which include the final full-scale experiment. The experiment is used to validate the assumptions made in the design models. In this work the drawbacks of traditional static and fatigue full-scale testing are elaborated, i.e., the replication of realistic loading and structural response. Subcomponent testing is proposed as a potential method to mitigate some of the drawbacks. Compared to the actual loading that a rotor blade is subjected to under field conditions, the full-scale test loading is subjected to the following simplifications and constraints: first, the full-scale fatigue test is conducted as a cyclic test, wherein the load time series obtained from aeroservoelastic simulations are simplified to a damage-equivalent load range. Second, the load directions are typically applied solely in two directions, often pure lead–lag and flapwise directions which are not necessarily the most critical load directions for a particular blade segment. Third, parts of the blade are overloaded by up to 20% to achieve the target load along the whole span. Fourth, parts of the blade are not tested due to load introduction via load frames. Finally, another downside of a state-of-the-art, uni-axial, resonant, full-scale testing method is that dynamic testing at the eigenfrequencies of today's blades with respect to the first flapwise mode between 0.4 and 1.0Hz results in long test times. Testing usually takes several months. In contrast, the subcomponent fatigue testing time can be substantially shorter than the full-scale blade test since (a) the load can be introduced with higher frequencies which are not constrained by the blade's eigenfrequency, and (b) the stress ratio between the minimum and the maximum stress exposure to which the structure is subjected can be increased to more realistic values. Furthermore, subcomponent testing could increase the structural reliability by focusing on the critical areas and replicating the design loads more accurately in the most critical directions. In this work, the comparison of the two testing methods is elaborated by way of example on a trailing-edge bond line design.

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This research was conducted with the help of computer models to give argumentation on how the reliability of wind turbine rotor blade structures can be increased using subcomponent testing (SCT) as a supplement to full-scale blade testing (FST). It was found that the use of SCT can significantly reduce the testing time compared to FST while replicating more realistic loading conditions for an outboard blade segment as it occurs in the field.
This research was conducted with the help of computer models to give argumentation on how the...