HAWT, Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines from Gaia Wind, Their Advantages and Disadvantages Plus the Effects of Cyclic Stress and Vibration

Background
Advantages of Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines
Disadvantages of Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines
What are Cyclic Stresses and Vibrations?

Background

Gaia-Wind manufactures wind turbines for light industrial, agricultural, commercial, municipal and residential use. Clients include working farms, educational institutions, large home owners, offices and other commercial premises. This article looks at the advantages and disadvantages of horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT). It also examines the effects of vibration and cyclic stresses on HAWT wind turbines.

Advantages of Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines

  • Variable blade pitch, which gives the turbine blades the optimum angle of attack. Allowing the angle of attack to be remotely adjusted gives greater control, so the turbine collects the maximum amount of wind energy for the time of day and season.
  • The tall tower base allows access to stronger wind in sites with wind shear. In some wind shear sites, every ten meters up, the wind speed can increase by 20% and the power output by 34%.
  • High efficiency, since the blades always move perpendicularly to the wind, receiving power through the whole rotation. In contrast, all vertical axis wind turbines, and most proposed airborne wind turbine designs, involve various types of reciprocating actions, requiring airfoil surfaces to backtrack against the wind for part of the cycle. Backtracking against the wind leads to inherently lower efficiency.

Disadvantages of Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines

  • Taller masts and blades are more difficult to transport and install. Transportation and installation can now cost 20% of equipment costs.
  • Stronger tower construction is required to support the heavy blades, gearbox, and generator.
  • Reflections from tall HAWTs may affect side lobes of radar installations creating signal clutter, although filtering can suppress it.
  • Mast height can make them obtrusively visible across large areas, disrupting the appearance of the landscape and sometimes creating local opposition.
  • Downwind variants suffer from fatigue and structural failure caused by turbulence when a blade passes through the tower’s wind shadow (for this reason, the majority of HAWTs use an upwind design, with the rotor facing the wind in front of the tower).
  • They require an additional yaw control mechanism to turn the blades toward the wind.

What are Cyclic Stresses and Vibrations?

Cyclic stresses fatigue the blade, axle and bearing; material failures were a major cause of turbine failure for many years. Because wind velocity often increases at higher altitudes, the backward force and torque on a horizontal-axis wind turbine (HAWT) blade peaks as it turns through the highest point in its circle. The tower hinders the airflow at the lowest point in the circle, which produces a local dip in force and torque. These effects produce a cyclic twist on the main bearings of a HAWT. The combined twist is worst in machines with an even number of blades, where one is straight up when another is straight down. To improve reliability, teetering hubs have been used which allow the main shaft to rock through a few degrees, so that the main bearings do not have to resist the torque peaks.

When the turbine turns to face the wind, the rotating blades act like a gyroscope. As it pivots, gyroscopic precession tries to twist the turbine into a forward or backward somersault. For each blade on a wind generator’s turbine, precessive force is at a minimum when the blade is horizontal and at a maximum when the blade is vertical. This cyclic twisting can quickly fatigue and crack the blade roots, hub and axle of the turbines.

Source: Gaia-Wind

Ask A Question

Do you have a question you'd like to ask regarding this article?

Leave your feedback
Submit