Effect of drop‐size parameterization and rain amount on blade‐lifetime calculations considering leading‐edge erosion

Anna‐Maria Tilg*, Witold R. Skrzypiński, Ásta Hannesdóttir, Charlotte Bay Hasager

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Leading-edge erosion (LEE) of wind turbine blades is caused by the impact of particles, for example, raindrops, and leads to a loss in the power production and high maintenance cost. Investigations have shown that a reduction in tip speed, so-called erosion-safe mode, increases the blade lifetime but the influence of different drop-size parameterizations and rain amounts on the blade lifetime is unclear. This study compares blade lifetime calculations using two different drop-size parameterizations, which both describe a characteristic drop size of a rain measurement. Furthermore, changes in blade lifetime in case rain amount is increased or decreased are investigated as well as the effect of different wind shear exponents. The blade-lifetime calculations are based on a kinetic-energy model and an accumulated rain model. The results show that a drop-size parameterization based on rain rate leads to 44 times longer blade lifetime compared with a parameterization using in situ drop-size measurements. This large difference is probably due to the underestimation of large drops of the first mentioned parameterization. A change in rain amount of about ±17 % results only in a marginal change in blade lifetime. For both cases and models, an extension of blade lifetime was calculated when reducing the tip speed during specific rain events. The change of wind shear exponents caused as well a considerable effect on the lifetime prediction. Overall, blade lifetime is primary depending on the chosen model, where the kinetic-energy model is highly sensitive to the drop-size parameterization.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWind Energy
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)952-967
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Blade lifetime
    • Drop size
    • Erosion-safe mode
    • Leading-edge erosion
    • North Sea
    • Rain


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