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Influence of Transition Modes and Gravity Loads on Rotor Fatigue and Power Control

[+] Author Affiliations
A. J. Eggers, Jr., P. Moriarty, K. Chaney, R. Digumarthi, W. E. Holley

RANN Incorporated, Palo Alto, CA

Paper No. WIND2002-46, pp. 237-243; 7 pages
  • ASME 2002 Wind Energy Symposium
  • ASME 2002 Wind Energy Symposium
  • Reno, Nevada, USA, January 14–17, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 1-56347-476-X
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Two classes of transition modes are examined. The first class involves rotor start-up and shut-down in turbulent winds with rapidly varying mean wind speeds. In the start-up mode, coupling can occur between the mean and cyclic pitch control systems which leads to large peaks in blade flatwise moments. These peaks can substantially increase overall fatigue damage. They can be reduced by controlling blade pitch solely with the closed loop control system. Allowing the rotor to freely rotate at wind speeds below start-up eliminates blade moment peaks in the transition to low speed operation, with the result that closed loop control further increases blade fatigue life. These control alterations reduce power fluctuations but appear to have no significant effect on overall energy capture. Blade pitch control in the shutdown transition mode is restricted solely to mean pitch angle and no control coupling problems are encountered. The second class of transition modes studied is operation from below to above rated wind speed. This transition was previously idealized as an abrupt change from variable to constant rotor speed operation with mean blade pitch angle increased rapidly to hold mean power constant up to rotor shut down. This causes a very sharp peaking of mean moment at rated wind speed which increases blade fatigue damage. This peaking is reduced by smoothing the controlled variation of mean blade pitch angle over a range of wind speeds from below to above rated. As a result, rotor blade fatigue life is substantially increased, and energy capture is somewhat reduced in both open and closed loop operation. Thus there is a trade-off between energy capture and fatigue life which is examined. The comparative effects on blade fatigue life and weight of turbulence induced and 1P gravity loads are examined for large scale rotor blades. The bending strength of each blade in the out-of-plane and in-plane directions at the critical root location was assumed to be the same for full span pitch control requiring a cylindrical cross-section at the root. It is indicated that turbulence induced fatigue damage dominates over that due to gravity for rotor radii up to about 40m and near 2 MW rated power, depending on the number of rotor blades. This open loop result is unaltered in closed loop operation if blade weight is reduced to maintain the same fatigue life. Tradeoffs between rotor blade weight and energy capture in open and closed loop control operation are examined.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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