Dynamic analysis tool development for swept wind turbine blades


Correspondence: Scott Larwood, Mechanical Engineering Department, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave. CA 95211, USA.

E-mail: slarwood@pacific.edu


Because of their aeroelastic behavior, swept wind turbine blades offer the potential to increase energy capture and lower fatigue loads. This article describes work to develop a dynamic analysis code for swept wind turbine blades. This work was an outgrowth of a U.S. Department of Energy contract on swept blades, where the authors used the Adams™ dynamic software (MSC Software Corporation, Santa Ana, CA, USA). The new code is based on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's FAST code and allows for lower cost analysis and faster computation times for swept blades. The additions to the FAST code include the geometry and mode shapes required for the bending and twisting motion of the swept blade. In addition, a finite element program to determine mode shapes for the swept blade was developed. Comparisons of results obtained with the new code and analytical solutions for a curved cantilever beam show good agreement in local torsional deflections. Comparisons with field data obtained for a 750 kW wind turbine with swept blades were complicated by uncertainties in the test wind speed and turbine controller settings.Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.