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Energies 2017, 10(11), 1853; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10111853

Indicative Fault Diagnosis of Wind Turbine Generator Bearings Using Tower Sound and Vibration

Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in 24th International Congress on Sound and Vibration (ICSV 24), London, UK, 26 July 2017.
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Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 13 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wind Turbine Loads and Wind Plant Performance)
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Abstract

The idea of indicative fault diagnosis based on measuring the wind turbine tower sound and vibration is presented. It had been reported by a wind farm operator that a major fault on the generator bearing causes shock and noise to be heard from the bottom of the wind turbine tower. The work in this paper was conceived to test whether tower top faults could be identified by taking simple measurements at the tower base. Two accelerometers were attached inside the wind turbine tower, and vibration data was collected while the wind turbine was in operation. Tower vibration signals were analyzed using Empirical Mode Decomposition and the outcomes were correlated with the vibration signals acquired directly from the generator bearings. It is shown that the generator bearing fault signatures were present in the vibrations from the tower. The results suggest that useful condition monitoring of nacelle components can be done even when there is no condition monitoring system installed on the generator bearings, as is often the case for older wind turbines. In the second part of the paper, acoustic measurements from a healthy and a faulty wind turbine are shown. The preliminary analysis suggests that the generator bearing fault increases the overall sound pressure level at the bottom of the tower, and is not buried in the background noise. View Full-Text
Keywords: wind turbine; tower vibration; indicative fault diagnosis; condition monitoring; drive-train; generator bearing; operation and maintenance; empirical mode decomposition; acoustics wind turbine; tower vibration; indicative fault diagnosis; condition monitoring; drive-train; generator bearing; operation and maintenance; empirical mode decomposition; acoustics
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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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Mollasalehi, E.; Wood, D.; Sun, Q. Indicative Fault Diagnosis of Wind Turbine Generator Bearings Using Tower Sound and Vibration. Energies 2017, 10, 1853.

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