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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded

2010

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

blade testing, wind energy, dual axis testing, solidworks modelling

Abstract

This thesis consists of a detailed analysis of different blade testing methods and improvements to a novel concept for tri-axial testing of large wind turbine blades. As the blades are one of the most critical components of the wind turbine, they have to be tested in order to ensure that their specifications are consistent with the actual performance of the blade. It must be demonstrated that the blade can withstand both the ultimate loads and the fatigue loads to which the blade is expected to be subjected during its design service life. There are basically two types of blade testing: static testing and fatigue testing. Testing of the blades statically and dynamically helps in improving the designs and the manufacturing processes.

This thesis has two objectives. The first objective is to document the assumptions, calculations and results of an initial sizing of a bell crank system for testing blades 50m, 60m and 70m long. The second objective of this report is to document the modeling of one of the alternatives to bell crank system in SolidWorks. The thesis ends with conclusions and suggestions for future work.

An advanced blade testing method which can be used for large wind turbine blades is developed and so are the system requirements. The concept is used to excite the blade in flapwise and edgewise direction simultaneously. The flap motion of the blade is caused by BREX resonant technology, which is already used by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, and edgewise motion is delivered by the use of two inclined hydraulic actuators and linear guide rail system is used to move the inclined actuators in the flapwise direction along the blade motion. The hydraulic system and linear guide rail requirements are analyzed and discussed.

The design is discussed and analyzed in detail proving it to be feasible. The cost estimation is done for the design. It is recommended for implementation as it will serve as an efficient way of testing large wind turbine blades.

First Advisor

Robert W Hyers

Second Advisor

James F. Manwell

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