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Title:A method to estimate wind turbine blade damage and to design damage resilient blades
Author(s):Fiore, Giovanni
Director of Research:Selig, Michael S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Selig, Michael S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ansell, Phillip J.; Chamorro, Leonardo P.; Ragheb, Magdi
Department / Program:Aerospace Engineering
Discipline:Aerospace Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):wind turbine
Abstract:Wind turbine blades are affected by continuous impacts with airborne particles that deteriorate the blade surface and yield to a drop in output power. Based on the climatic conditions and geographic locations of a given wind farm, multiple types of particles are observed in air. The present study focuses on simulating the impact of four types of particles, namely insects, sand grains, hailstones, and rain drops with the blade surface. A numerical inviscid flowfield code, coupled with a particle position predictor code was used. Upon impact, the damaging effect to the blade surface was evaluated. Each type of particle was associated with a damage mode, which depends on the mass, size, and hardness of the particle. It was found that insects strike and adhere to the blade in a region close to the leading edge. On the other hand, it was seen that sand grains promote erosion just downstream of the leading edge, where local velocity reaches a maximum and the impact angle is shallow. Moreover, particles such as rain drops are associated with fatigue and erosion at the very leading edge and on the upper side of the blade section. Finally, hailstones promote delamination and fatigue in the composite panels of the blade surface. Photographic evidence of damaged blade surfaces was used in the present research as a comparison with the simulations performed for various types of particle and dfferent initial conditions. Based on such observations, a theorization of the damage pattern and evolution was proposed. Finally, given a set of well-established blade section geometries, such as the Delft University and NREL S airfoil families, a comparison of airfoil damage fitness was proposed and possible means of shape optimization were discussed. The investigation of blade geometry features to mitigate damage was performed. Based on previous results, it was argued that a viable blade section optimization may be performed for the lightest and smallest particles considered in the study, the sand grains. A pool of airfoils was analyzed regarding the sand erosion rate. It was shown that a bulbous leading edge coupled with airfoil aft camber is beneficial toward the erosion rate due to sand grains. An optimization algorithm was written to improve the damage resilience toward sand erosion of wind turbine airfoils. A direct and inverse approach were integrated in a genetic algorithm code, and it was confrmed that bulbous leading edges, coupled with aft cambers allowed for a reduction in blade erosion rates. Lastly, a time-stepping code was developed to predict the blade section geometry when sand erosion is present. It was found that three main phases occur during the erosive life of a blade. A parametric study allowed to find the most relevant drivers to the blade lifespan with respect to erosion. Beneficial effects come from an increase in turbine hub height, turbine rated power, increase in lift coefficient, and a reduction in average particle diameter. A parametric study was also performed by investigating different airfoil geometries. Again, it was found that bulbous leading edges coupled with aft cambered geometries allow for longer blade lifespan.
Issue Date:2016-04-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Giovanni Fiore
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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