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A novel rotor blade fatigue test setup with elliptical biaxial resonant excitation

: Melcher, D.; Bätge, M.; Neßlinger, S.

Volltext ()

Wind energy science : WES 5 (2020), Nr.2, S.675-684
ISSN: 2366-7443
ISSN: 2366-7451
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IWES ()

The full-scale fatigue test of rotor blades is an important and complex part of the development of new wind turbines. It is often done for certification according to the current IEC (2014) and DNV GL AS (2015) standards. Typically, a new blade design is tested by separate uniaxial fatigue tests in both main directions of the blade, i.e. flapwise and lead lag. These tests are time-consuming and rather expensive due to the high number of load cycles required, up to 5 million. Therefore, it is important to run the test as efficiently as possible. During fatigue testing, the rotor blade is excited at or near its resonant frequency. The trend for new rotor blade designs is toward longer blades, leading to a significant drop in their natural frequencies and a corresponding increase in test time. To reduce the total test time, a novel test method aims to combine the two consecutive uniaxial fatigue tests into one biaxial test. The biaxial test excites the blade in both directions at the same time and at the same frequency, resulting in an elliptical deflection path of the blade axis. Using elliptical loading, the counting of damage equivalent load cycles is simplified in comparison to biaxial tests with multiple frequencies. In addition, the maximum loads in both main directions remain separated, while off-axis loading is introduced. To achieve such a test, specific load elements need to be arranged so as to equalize the natural frequencies of the test setup for both test directions. This is accomplished by adding stiffness or inertial effects in a specific direction. This work describes a new method to design suitable test setups. A parameterized finite element (FE) model of the test with beam elements for the blade represents the test setup. A harmonic analysis on the FE model can identify the load distribution and the test conditions of a specific test setup within seconds.