Vibration-based SHM System: Application to Wind Turbine Blades

D. Tcherniak, Lasse Lohilahti Mølgaard

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This study presents an vibration-based system designed for structural health monitoring of wind turbine blades. Mechanical energy is introduced by means of an electromechanical actuator mounted inside the blade. The actuator's plunger periodically hits the blade structure; the induced vibrations propagate along the blade and are measured by an array of accelerometers. Unsupervised learning is applied to the data: the vibration patterns corresponding to the undamaged blade are used to create a statistical model of the reference state. During the detection stage, the current vibration pattern is compared with the reference state, and the novelties can be associated with damage. The vibration pattern is described by the covariance matrix between the accelerometer signals. The mid-range frequencies are used: this range is above the frequencies excited by blade-wind interaction, thus ensuring a good signal-to-noise ratio. Simultaneously, the frequencies are low enough to be able to propagate the entire blade length, so good results can be obtained even using only one actuator. The system is demonstrated on a real 34m blade mounted on a test rig. Using the suggested approach, the system enables detection of, e.g., a 20cm long trailing edge opening under realistic noise conditions. It is also demonstrated that the system provides rough information about damage location. Progression of damage, if any, can also be detected.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012072
Book seriesJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event11th International Conference on Damage Assessment of Structures (DAMAS 2015) - Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 24 Aug 201526 Aug 2015
Conference number: 11


Conference11th International Conference on Damage Assessment of Structures (DAMAS 2015)

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