There have been some recent efforts to numerically model and analyse the wind turbine gearbox. To date, much of the focus has been on increasing model refinement and demonstrating its added value. This paper takes a step back and examines in detail the modelling and analysis of an important wind turbine gearbox component, the planet carrier, in a multi-body setting. The planet carrier studied in this work comes from the 750 kW wind turbine gearbox used in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Gearbox Reliability Collaborative project. The study is performed in two parts. First, the influence of subcomponents mated to the planet carrier in the gearbox assembly is investigated in detail. These components consist of the planet pins, bearings and the main shaft. In the second part of the study, the flexible body modelling of the planet carrier for use in multi-body simulations is examined through the use of condensed finite element and multi-body simulation models. Both eigenvalue analyses and time domain simulations are performed. Comparisons are made regarding the eigenfrequencies, categorized mode shapes and the maximum and minimum planet carrier rim deflections from the time domain simulations. The mode shapes are categorized into seven distinct deformation patterns. An actual load case from the dynamometer tests, a 100% rated torque loading, is used in the time domain simulations. The results from this comprehensive study provide an insight into the proper modelling of a wind turbine planet carrier in a multi-body setting. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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