General static load-carrying capacity of four-contact-point slewing bearings for wind turbine generator actuation systems


Correspondence: Mikel Abasolo, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain.



Four-contact-point slewing bearings are widely used in wind turbine generators (WTGs) to adjust the orientation of the blades and the nacelle to fully exploit wind resources. These bearings must withstand static and fatigue loads; however, at the first stages of the design process, the bearings are commonly selected by considering only static loads. This paper presents a further step of a previous theoretical work published by the authors in the field of the static load-carrying capacity of four-contact-point slewing bearings under axial, radial and tilting-moment loads. In that work, a generalization of the works by Sjoväll and Rumbarger was presented, providing an acceptance surface of the bearing in the load space. The contact angle of the balls was assumed to be load independent. The present work improves that development by considering the influence of the variability of the contact angle with the applied load, and as a result, the acceptance surface has been redefined. By comparing the results with those of the finite element model published by the authors, it is proven that the new model presented in this work is more realistic than the previous one. Thus, it is believed that this methodology can be easily applied for the initial selection of blade and yaw bearings in WTGs. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.