Identification of loading conditions resulting in roller slippage in gearbox bearings of large wind turbines

Dariusz Dabrowski, Anand Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The dynamic loads on the rollers inside the bearings of large wind turbine gearboxes operating under transient conditions are presented with a focus on identifying conditions leading to slippage of rollers. The methodology was developed using a multi-body model of the drivetrain coupled with aeroelastic simulations of the wind turbine system. A 5 MW reference wind turbine is considered for which a three-stage planetary gearbox is designed on the basis of upscaling of an actual 750 kW gearbox unit. Multi-body dynamic simulations are run using the ADAMS software using a detailed model of the gearbox planetary bearings to investigate transient loads inside the planet bearing. It was found that assembly and pre-loading conditions have significant influence on the bearing’s operation. Also, the load distribution in the gearbox bearings
strongly depends on wind turbine operation. Wind turbine start-up and shut-down under normal conditions are shown to induce roller slippage, as characterized by loss of contacts and impacts between rollers and raceways. The roller impacts occur under reduced initial pre-load on opposite sides of the load zone followed by stress variation, which can be one of the potential reasons leading to wear and premature bearing failures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWind Energy
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1365-1387
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Loss of Contact
  • Multi-body model
  • Planet bearing failure
  • Transient Conditions
  • Wind turbine drivetrain


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