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Reliability Analysis of Fatigue Failure of Cast Components for Wind Turbines

Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University, Aalborg 9200, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Frede Blaabjerg
Energies 2015, 8(4), 2908-2923;
Received: 23 December 2014 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 7 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Wind Turbines)
PDF [388 KB, uploaded 15 April 2015]


Fatigue failure is one of the main failure modes for wind turbine drivetrain components made of cast iron. The wind turbine drivetrain consists of a variety of heavily loaded components, like the main shaft, the main bearings, the gearbox and the generator. The failure of each component will lead to substantial economic losses such as cost of lost energy production and cost of repairs. During the design lifetime, the drivetrain components are exposed to variable loads from winds and waves and other sources of loads that are uncertain and have to be modeled as stochastic variables. The types of loads are different for offshore and onshore wind turbines. Moreover, uncertainties about the fatigue strength play an important role in modeling and assessment of the reliability of the components. In this paper, a generic stochastic model for fatigue failure of cast iron components based on fatigue test data and a limit state equation for fatigue failure based on the SN-curve approach and Miner’s rule is presented. The statistical analysis of the fatigue data is performed using the Maximum Likelihood Method which also gives an estimate of the statistical uncertainties. Finally, illustrative examples are presented with reliability analyses depending on various stochastic models and partial safety factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: wind turbine; drivetrain; fatigue; stochastic model; reliability analysis wind turbine; drivetrain; fatigue; stochastic model; reliability analysis

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Rafsanjani, H.M.; Sørensen, J.D. Reliability Analysis of Fatigue Failure of Cast Components for Wind Turbines. Energies 2015, 8, 2908-2923.

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