The effects of blade structural model fidelity on wind turbine load analysis and computation time

Ozan Gözcü*, David R. Verelst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Aero-servo-elastic analyses are required to determine the wind turbine loading for a wide range of load cases as specified in certification standards. The floating reference frame (FRF) formulation can be used to model the structural response of long and flexible wind turbine blades. Increasing the number of bodies in the FRF formulation of the blade increases both the fidelity of the structural model and the size of the problem. However, the turbine load analysis is a coupled aero-servo-elastic analysis, and computation cost not only depends on the size of the structural model, but also depends on the aerodynamic solver and the number of iterations between the solvers. This study presents an investigation of the performance of the different fidelity levels as measured by the computational cost and the turbine response (e.g., blade loads, tip clearance, tower-top accelerations). The analysis is based on aeroelastic simulations for normal operation in turbulent inflow load cases as defined in a design standard. Two 10 MW reference turbines are used. The results show that the turbine response quickly approaches the results of the highest-fidelity model as the number of bodies increases. The increase in computational costs to account for more bodies can almost entirely be compensated for by changing the type of the matrix solver from dense to sparse.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)503-517
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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