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Influence of Wind Induced Fatigue Damage in the Reliability of Wind Turbines

Authors: Sonia E. Ruiz, Emilio A. Berny-Brandt


Steel tubular towers serving as support structures for large wind turbines are subjected to several hundred million stress cycles caused by the turbulent nature of the wind. This causes highcycle fatigue, which could govern the design of the tower. Maintaining the support structure after the wind turbines reach its typical 20-year design life has become a common practice; however, quantifying the changes in the reliability on the tower is not usual. In this paper the effect of fatigue damage in the wind turbine structure is studied whit the use of fracture mechanics, and a method to estimate the reliability over time of the structure is proposed. A representative wind turbine located in Oaxaca, Mexico is then studied. It is found that the system reliability is significantly affected by the accumulation of fatigue damage. 

Keywords: Fatigue, Wind turbines, Monte Carlo Simulation, structural reliability, crack growth

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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