As a form of clean and renewable energy, wind power has an increasing share in electricity production both in U.S. and the world. Since energy production of a turbine is proportional to its rotor area, large wind turbines have become more popular recently. However, large wind turbines are susceptible to large-amplitude vibrations that could lead to catastrophic failure. Determining the conditions that could lead to failure is not trivial, since large turbines have complicated dynamics due to nonlinear effects, such as unsteady winds, structural nonlinearities and cyclically varying parameters.
We are creating dynamical models to identify the conditions that would lead to large blade deformations and turbine failure. We also do parametric studies to relate these conditions to structural parameters of turbine parts and turbine speeds. These studies are essential for developing design guidelines for more reliable systems and avoiding critical operation conditions through control schemes.