Comparison of Strength and Load-Based Methods for Testing Wind Turbine Blades

Walter D. Musial, Melissa E. Clark, Nathaniel Egging, Michael D. Zuleck

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

10 Scopus Citations


The purpose of this paper is to compare two methods of blade test loading and show how they are applied in an actual blade test. Strength and load-based methods were examined to determine the test load for an Atlantic Orient Corporation (AOC)15/50 wind turbine blade for fatigue and static testing. Fatigue load-based analysis was performed using measured field test loads extrapolated for extreme rare events and scaled to thirty-year spectra. An accelerated constant amplitude fatigue test that gives equivalent damage at critical locations was developed using Miner’s Rule and the material S-N curves. Test load factors were applied to adjust the test loads for uncertainties, and differences between the test and operating environment. Similar analyses were carried out for the strength-based fatigue test using the strength of the blade and the material properties to determine the load level and number of constant amplitude cycles to failure. Static tests were also developed using load and strength criteria. The resulting test loads were compared and contrasted. The analysis shows that, for the AOC 15/50 blade, the strength-based test loads are higher than any of the static load-based cases considered but were exceeded in the fatigue analysis for a severe hot/wet environment.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 1997
Event35th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 1997 - Reno, United States
Duration: 6 Jan 19979 Jan 1997


Conference35th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 1997
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1997 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-23284


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