A gravo-aeroelastically scaled wind turbine rotor at field-prototype scale with strict structural requirements


A new sub-scale field-prototype design solution is developed to realize the dynamics, structural response, and distributed loads (gravitational, aerodynamic, centrifugal) that are characteristic of a full-scale large, modern wind turbine rotor. Prior work in sub-scale wind turbine testing has focused on matching aerodynamic/aero-elastic characteristics of full-scale rotors at wind tunnel scale. However, large-scale rotor designs must expand beyond this limited set of scaling parameters for cost-effective prototyping and meet strict requirements for structural safety for field testing. The challenge lies in producing a structural design meeting two competing objectives: novel scaling objectives that prescribe the sub-scale blade to have low mass and stiffness; and traditional structural safety objectives that drive the design to have higher stiffness and mass. A 20% gravo-aeroelastically scaled wind turbine blade is developed successfully that satisfies these competing objectives. First, it achieved close agreement for non-dimensional tip deflection and flap-wise blade frequency (both within 2.1%) with a blade mass distribution constrained to produce target gravitational and centrifugal loads. Second, the entire blade structure was optimized to ensure a safe, manufacturable solution meeting strict strength requirements for a testing site that can experience up to 45 m/s wind gusts. The prototype-scale blade was fabricated and successfully proof-load tested.

Renewable Energy
Mayank Chetan
Mayank Chetan
Wind Energy Researcher

Current research interests include wind turbine structures, aero-elasticity and loads analysis.