Development of simplified models for wind turbine blades with application to NREL 5MW offshore research wind turbine
Paper in proceeding, 2014

Integration of complex models of wind turbine blades in aeroelastic simulations places an untenable demand on computational resources and, hence, means of speed-up become necessary. This paper considers the process of producing simplified rotor blade models which accurately approximate the dynamics of interest. The novelty, besides applying an efficient model updating procedure to the wind turbine blade, is to challenge the conventional beam element formulation utilized in the majority of aeroelastic codes. First, a 61.5 m blade, previously reported by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is selected as a case study and a verified industry-standard three dimensional shell model is developed based on its actual geometry. Next, given the reported spanwise cross sectional properties of the blade, a calibrated beam model is developed, using an efficient model updating process, that shows an excellent agreement to the low frequency dynamics of the baseline model in terms of mode shapes, resonance frequency and frequency response function. The simulation study provides evidence that a beam model cannot capture all the important features found in a large-scale 3D blade. This motivates a departure from conventional beam element formulation and suggests addressing the problem of producing simplified models in the framework of model reduction techniques. A modified modal truncation algorithm is applied to the baseline model to produce a simpler model which accurately approximates its input-output behavior in a given frequency range. It is concluded that besides the computational efficiency of the reduction algorithm, the resulting approximation error is guaranteed to be bounded and the yielded low-order model can, in turn, be served in wind turbine design codes.

frequency response calibration

beam modeling

wind turbine blade

Model calibration

model reduction



Majid Khorsand Vakilzadeh


Swedish Wind Power Technology Center (SWPTC)

Anders Johansson


Thomas Abrahamsson


Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series

21915644 (ISSN) 21915652 (eISSN)

9783319007700 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics

Areas of Advance






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