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Sensors 2018, 18(1), 97; doi:10.3390/s18010097 (registering DOI)

Field Demonstration of Real-Time Wind Turbine Foundation Strain Monitoring

Doctoral Training Centre in Wind and Marine Energy Systems, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XQ, UK
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XJ, UK
Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XQ, UK
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), Glasgow G2 6AY, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 29 December 2017 / Published: 31 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Sensor Networks for Structural Health Monitoring)


Onshore wind turbine foundations are generally over-engineered as their internal stress states are challenging to directly monitor during operation. While there are industry drivers to shift towards more economical foundation designs, making this transition safely will require new monitoring techniques, so that the uncertainties around structural health can be reduced. This paper presents the initial results of a real-time strain monitoring campaign for an operating wind turbine foundation. Selected reinforcement bars were instrumented with metal packaged optical fibre strain sensors prior to concrete casting. In this paper, we outline the sensors’ design, characterisation and installation, and present 67 days of operational data. During this time, measured foundation strains did not exceed 95 μ ϵ , and showed a strong correlation with both measured tower displacements and the results of a foundation finite element model. The work demonstrates that real-time foundation monitoring is not only achievable, but that it has the potential to help operators and policymakers quantify the conservatism of their existing design codes. View Full-Text
Keywords: wind turbine foundation; structural health monitoring; finite element model; reinforcement strain; fibre Bragg grating wind turbine foundation; structural health monitoring; finite element model; reinforcement strain; fibre Bragg grating

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Rubert, T.; Perry, M.; Fusiek, G.; McAlorum, J.; Niewczas, P.; Brotherston, A.; McCallum, D. Field Demonstration of Real-Time Wind Turbine Foundation Strain Monitoring. Sensors 2018, 18, 97.

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