Research Spotlight: On the Investigation of the Most Critical Shape Imperfections for Wind Turbine Tower Shell Structures

2017 Annual Stability Conference Presentation

Session S9 – Stability of Shells
Thursday, March 23, 2017
4:15 pm

On the Investigation of the Most Critical Shape Imperfections for Wind Turbine Tower Shell Structures

Among the many technical goals of today’s wind energy industry is to develop solutions for taller wind turbine towers. The increase in height of wind turbine towers is imperative to achieve goals of efficiency and competitiveness, as the wind profile is stronger at higher heights. However, making higher wind turbine tower structures poses numerous challenges to structural engineers. One of the biggest challenges for thin cylindrical shells, such as tall wind turbine structures is their high sensitivity to geometric imperfections. It is expected that the capacity of this type of shells can drop significantly in the presence of geometric imperfections. This paper is studying this sensitivity by investigating the worst shape imperfection for a specific wind turbine tower geometry. For this investigation, the elastic modes of the structure are utilized either as individual shapes or as the basis for shape combinations, in order to find the worst initial geometric imperfection shape.

Kshitij Kumar Yadav and Simos Gerasimidis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA;  Jens Lycke Wind, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Aarhus, Denmark