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Graduate Student Research Projects

Wind Turbine Blade Testing

  

Wind turbine blades are perhaps one of the most critical components of a wind turbine and thus need special attention to testing that can determine the actual loads experienced during operation.

Blade testing methods fall in two categories: static and fatigue testing. Fatigue testing is performed by applying a loading spectrum which may contain 1-million to 5-million load cycles and is performed in two primary directions, flap and lead-lag. Fatigue tests are generally performed sequentially, first in the edgewise direction followed by testing in flapwise direction.

The objective of this research is to design a blade testing method in which flapwise and edgewise loading can be done simultaneously so as to simulate the actual blade loads experienced in the field. This also results in shorter overall duration for testing of the blades. This is achieved by imparting the force in edgewise direction with the help of two inclined hydraulic actuators and using a linear guide rail system which moves along the flapwise motion of the blade.