Potential of damage accumulation during segmented rotor blade fatigue tests
Modern wind turbines have higher rated power and improved capacity factors. This results in very long and slender blades which are also designed closer to the material limits. As a consequence, blade test facilities need to be upgraded for static and fatigue full-scale blade testing to carry larger loads and deal with larger tip deflections. Another aspect is the adaption of the test methods to avoid high overloads, which can cause premature damage and require time-consuming repairs. One drawback of traditional full-scale tests with a full-length rotor blade is the long time needed for certification as the blades have low eigenfrequencies and hence high fatigue test durations. This work presents an alternative fatigue testing approach for rotor blades which combines full-length and segmented fatigue tests, each contributing to the accumulated fatigue damage. The proposed approach is benchmarked with the traditional approach by means of a numerical optimization study. applying this approach to a current offshore rotor blade design illustrates the potential for reducing the fatigue test duration by 66% and the local fatigue damage overload to a mere fraction.