Fatigue lifetime calculation of wind turbine blade bearings considering blade-dependent load distribution

Menck, Oliver; Stammler, Matthias; Schleich, Florian

Rotating bearings are some of the most commonly employed machine elements. As such, they are well-understood and thoroughly researched pieces of technology. Fatigue lifetime calculation is internationally standardized through ISO 281, which is based on the assumption that loads act on a bearing under constant rotation. Blade bearings of wind turbines do not conform to this assumption since their movement typically consists of small, repetitive oscillations. Moreover, their load distribution differs considerably over the bearing circumference, a load case for which ISO 281 refers to ISO 16281 and which requires detailed simulations of the bearing to be sufficiently precise. Aside from ISO 16281, the NREL DG03, a guideline for pitch and yaw bearing lifetime, lists two methods for incorporating bearing loads into the fatigue life calculation. This paper compares all three methods. Two of the methods can not be used directly for the double-row four-point bearing used in this paper and are thus slightly adjusted. Load distributions in the bearing are simulated and curve-fit by means of a novel approach using regression analysis. The method from NREL DG03, which requires the least computational effort, is shown to result in a much higher lifetime than the other two, which are based on internal load distributions of the bearing. The two latter methods are shown to produce very similar results. An adjustment is proposed for increasing the accuracy of that lifetime calculation method which requires the least computational effort in order to resemble the other two more closely.

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Menck, Oliver / Stammler, Matthias / Schleich, Florian: Fatigue lifetime calculation of wind turbine blade bearings considering blade-dependent load distribution. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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