Validation of crack initiation model by means of cyclic full-scale blade test
Wind turbine rotor blades are subject to highly dynamic loads and designed for life cycles of at least 20 years, which means that materials are subjected to high-cycle fatigue. Fatigue is a design-driving loading for current and future blades. Bond lines of blades are exposed to a multi-axial stress-state due to the anisotropic thin-walled blade structure and curved, tapered, twisted, and airfoil-shaped blade geometry. To eliminate undesirable failure modes and thus increase the reliability of wind turbine rotor blades, standards and guidelines recommend that the multi-axial stress-states be taken into consideration for the limit state analysis. In addition, thermal residual stresses that develop during manufacture can have a significant impact on the fatigue life of the bond line. By means of a cyclic full-scale blade test of a commercial 81.6m long offshore blade, we validate a crack initiation model, which takes into account multi-axial thermal and mechanical stress-states, as well as the probabilistic stress-life, to predict the edge of crack initiation in the adhesive as well as the span-wise position. Both observations agreed well with the simulations. All residual normal stress components and cross-sectional plane shear stress made up the major part of the mean equivalent stress, while the mechanical stress amplitude components - longitudinal, peel, and cross-sectional plane shear stress - made up the major part of the equivalent stress amplitude.