A Simple Method for Modelling Fatigue Spectra of Small Wind Turbine Blades

Samuel Evans, Scott Dana, Philip Clausen, David Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus Citations


Small-scale wind turbines have market opportunities in distributed energy generation applications but face future challenges in remaining cost competitive compared with solar photovoltaic systems. High unit costs can be attributed to design conservatism when calculating fatigue loads of key structural components such as the blades. In this study, we use the aeroelastic software FAST to highlight limitations of the International Electrotechnical Commission 61400-2:2013 small wind turbine design standard for calculating fatigue life using the simplified load model. We present a modified method for calculating the fatigue spectra of small wind turbine blades. An advantage of this method is that it does not require complex aeroelastic simulations or field measurements. This modified method is intended to be implemented early in the blade design stage, such as during rotor optimization simulations, allowing for multiple rotor configurations to be rapidly compared.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
JournalWind Energy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Wind Energy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-75971


  • aeroelastic modelling
  • FAST
  • IEC 61400-2:2013
  • simplified load model


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