Implementation of a Two-Axis Servo-Hydraulic System for Full-Scale Fatigue Testing of Wind Turbine Blades

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Recently, the blade fatigue testing capabilities at NREL were upgraded from single-axis to two-axis loading. To implement this, several practical challenges were addressed, as hardware complexity increased dramatically with two actuators applying the loads at right angles to each other. A custom bellcrank was designed and implemented to minimize the load angle errors and to prevent actuator sideloading. The control system was upgraded to accept load and displacement feedback from two actuators. The inherent long strokes uniquely associated with wind turbine blade-tests required substantial real-time corrections for both the control and data systems. A custom data acquisition and control system was developed using a National Instruments LabVIEW platform that interfaces with proprietaryservo-hydraulic software developed by MTS Corporation. Before testing, the program is run under quasi-static (slow speed) conditions and iterates to determine the correct operational control parameters for the controller, taking into consideration geometry, test speed, and phase angle errors between the two actuators. Comparisons are made between single-axis and two-axis test loads using actualtest load data and load uncertainties are qualitatively described. To date, two fatigue tests have been completed and another is currently ongoing using NREL's two-axis capability.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 1999
EventWindpower '99 - Burlington, Vermont
Duration: 20 Jun 199923 Jun 1999


ConferenceWindpower '99
CityBurlington, Vermont

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-500-26896


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