Using Partial Safety Factors in Wind Turbine Design and Testing

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper describes the relationship between wind turbine design and testing in terms of the certification process. An overview of the current status of international certification is given along with a description of limit-state design basics. Wind turbine rotor blades are used to illustrate the principles discussed. These concepts are related to both International Electrotechnical Commissionand Germanischer Lloyd design standards, and are covered using schematic representations of statistical load and material strength distributions. Wherever possible, interpretations of the partial safety factors are given with descriptions of their intended meaning. Under some circumstances, the authors' interpretations may be subjective. Next, the test-load factors are described in concept andthen related to the design factors. Using technical arguments, it is shown that some of the design factors for both load and materials must be used in the test loading, but some should not be used. In addition, some test factors not used in the design may be necessary for an accurate test of the design. The results show that if the design assumptions do not clearly state the effects anduncertainties that are covered by the design's partial safety factors, outside parties such as test labs or certification agencies could impose their own meaning on these factors.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 1997
EventWindpower '97 - Austin, Texas
Duration: 15 Jun 199718 Jun 1997


ConferenceWindpower '97
CityAustin, Texas

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-440-23257


  • certifications
  • design
  • testing
  • turbines
  • wind


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