Seismic Loading for FAST: May 2011 - August 2011

NREL, Jason Jonkman (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


As more wind farms are constructed in seismically active regions, earthquake loading increases in prominence for design and analysis of wind turbines. Early investigation of seismic load tended to simplify the rotor and nacelle as a lumped mass on top of the turbine tower. This simplification allowed the use of techniques developed for conventional civil structures, such as buildings, to beeasily applied to wind turbines. However, interest is shifting to more detailed models that consider loads for turbine components other than the tower. These improved models offer three key capabilities in consideration of base shaking for turbines: 1) The inclusion of aerodynamics and turbine control; 2) The ability to consider component loads other than just tower loads; and 3) An improvedrepresentation of turbine response in higher modes by reducing modeling simplifications. Both experimental and numerical investigations have shown that, especially for large modern turbines, it is important to consider interaction between earthquake input, aerodynamics, and operational loads. These investigations further show that consideration of higher mode activity may be necessary in theanalysis of the seismic response of turbines. Since the FAST code is already capable of considering these factors, modifications were developed that allow simulation of base shaking. This approach allows consideration of this additional load source within a framework, the FAST code that is already familiar to many researchers and practitioners.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5000-53872


  • models
  • seismic loads
  • wind farms
  • wind turbines


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