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Title: Characterization of the High-Speed-Stage Bearing Skidding of Wind Turbine Gearboxes Induced by Dynamic Electricity Grid Events: Preprint

Abstract

Bearing behavior is an important factor for wind turbine drivetrain reliability. Extreme loads and dynamic excitations pose challenges to the bearing design and therefore its performance. Excessive skidding of the bearing rollers should be avoided because it can cause scuffing failures. Excitations coming from wind and the electricity grid can subject the drivetrain to fluctuating torque and nontorque loads. Wind-induced excitations have been investigated predominantly in literature. However, modern wind turbines are subjected more and more to grid-induced loads because of stricter electricity grid regulations. For example, during fault-ride-through events, turbines are required to stay connected for a longer period of time during the grid failure. This work investigates the influence of electrically induced excitations on the skidding behaviour of the tapered roller bearings on the high-speed stage of a wind turbine gearbox. This skidding behaviour during dynamic events is described as a potential bearing failure initiator by many researchers; however, only limited full-scale dynamic testing is documented. Therefore, a dedicated gridloss-type event is defined in the paper and conducted in a dynamometer test on a full-scale wind turbine nacelle. During the event, a complete electricity grid failure is simulated while the turbine is at rated speed and predefined torquemore » levels. Particular focus is on the characterization of the high-speed shaft tapered roller bearing slip behavior. Strain-gauge bridges in grooves along the circumference of the outer ring are used to characterize the bearing load zone in detail. It is shown that during the torque reversals of the transient event, roller slip can be induced. This indicates the potential of the applied load case to go beyond the preload of the tapered roller bearing. Furthermore, the relation between the applied torque and skidding level is studied.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Wind and Water Technologies Office (EE-4W)
OSTI Identifier:
1254238
Report Number(s):
NREL/CP-5000-66336
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: To be presented at the 23rd International Congress on Sound and Vibration, 10-14 July 2016, Athens, Greece
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
17 WIND ENERGY; 42 ENGINEERING; skidding; rolling element bearing; wind turbines; gearbox; grid; NREL

Citation Formats

Helsen, Jan, Guillaume, Patrick, Guo, Yi, and Keller, Jonathan. Characterization of the High-Speed-Stage Bearing Skidding of Wind Turbine Gearboxes Induced by Dynamic Electricity Grid Events: Preprint. United States: N. p., 2016. Web.
Helsen, Jan, Guillaume, Patrick, Guo, Yi, & Keller, Jonathan. Characterization of the High-Speed-Stage Bearing Skidding of Wind Turbine Gearboxes Induced by Dynamic Electricity Grid Events: Preprint. United States.
Helsen, Jan, Guillaume, Patrick, Guo, Yi, and Keller, Jonathan. 2016. "Characterization of the High-Speed-Stage Bearing Skidding of Wind Turbine Gearboxes Induced by Dynamic Electricity Grid Events: Preprint". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1254238.
@article{osti_1254238,
title = {Characterization of the High-Speed-Stage Bearing Skidding of Wind Turbine Gearboxes Induced by Dynamic Electricity Grid Events: Preprint},
author = {Helsen, Jan and Guillaume, Patrick and Guo, Yi and Keller, Jonathan},
abstractNote = {Bearing behavior is an important factor for wind turbine drivetrain reliability. Extreme loads and dynamic excitations pose challenges to the bearing design and therefore its performance. Excessive skidding of the bearing rollers should be avoided because it can cause scuffing failures. Excitations coming from wind and the electricity grid can subject the drivetrain to fluctuating torque and nontorque loads. Wind-induced excitations have been investigated predominantly in literature. However, modern wind turbines are subjected more and more to grid-induced loads because of stricter electricity grid regulations. For example, during fault-ride-through events, turbines are required to stay connected for a longer period of time during the grid failure. This work investigates the influence of electrically induced excitations on the skidding behaviour of the tapered roller bearings on the high-speed stage of a wind turbine gearbox. This skidding behaviour during dynamic events is described as a potential bearing failure initiator by many researchers; however, only limited full-scale dynamic testing is documented. Therefore, a dedicated gridloss-type event is defined in the paper and conducted in a dynamometer test on a full-scale wind turbine nacelle. During the event, a complete electricity grid failure is simulated while the turbine is at rated speed and predefined torque levels. Particular focus is on the characterization of the high-speed shaft tapered roller bearing slip behavior. Strain-gauge bridges in grooves along the circumference of the outer ring are used to characterize the bearing load zone in detail. It is shown that during the torque reversals of the transient event, roller slip can be induced. This indicates the potential of the applied load case to go beyond the preload of the tapered roller bearing. Furthermore, the relation between the applied torque and skidding level is studied.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 5
}

Conference:
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  • Bearing behavior is an important factor for wind turbine drivetrain reliability. Extreme loads and dynamic excitations pose challenges to the bearing design and therefore its performance. Excessive skidding of the bearing rollers should be avoided because it can cause scuffing failures. Excitations coming from wind and the electricity grid can subject the drivetrain to fluctuating torque and nontorque loads. Wind-induced excitations have been investigated predominantly in literature. However, modern wind turbines are subjected more and more to grid-induced loads because of stricter electricity grid regulations. For example, during fault-ride-through events, turbines are required to stay connected for a longer periodmore » of time during the grid failure. This work investigates the influence of electrically induced excitations on the skidding behaviour of the tapered roller bearings on the high-speed stage of a wind turbine gearbox. This skidding behaviour during dynamic events is described as a potential bearing failure initiator by many researchers; however, only limited full-scale dynamic testing is documented. Therefore, a dedicated gridloss-type event is defined in the paper and conducted in a dynamometer test on a full-scale wind turbine nacelle. During the event, a complete electricity grid failure is simulated while the turbine is at rated speed and predefined torque levels. Particular focus is on the characterization of the high-speed shaft tapered roller bearing slip behavior. Strain-gauge bridges in grooves along the circumference of the outer ring are used to characterize the bearing load zone in detail. It is shown that during the torque reversals of the transient event, roller slip can be induced. This indicates the potential of the applied load case to go beyond the preload of the tapered roller bearing. Furthermore, the relation between the applied torque and skidding level is studied.« less
  • Many wind turbine gearboxes require repair or replacement well before reaching the end of their design life. The most common failure is bearing axial cracks, commonly called white etching cracks (WECs), which typically occur in the inner raceways of the high-speed parallel-stage rolling element bearings. Although the root causes of WECs are debated, one theory is that they are related to routine dynamic operating conditions and occasional transient events prevalent in wind turbines that can result in high bearing stress and sliding of the rolling elements. Here, this paper examined wind turbine gearbox high-speed shaft bearing loads and stresses throughmore » modeling and full-scale dynamometer testing. Bearing outer race loads were directly measured and predicted using a variety of modeling tools in normal operations, misaligned conditions, and transient events particularly prone to bearing sliding. Test data and models of bearing loads were well correlated. Neither operational misalignment due to rotor moments nor static generator misalignment affected the bearing loads when compared with pure-torque conditions. Thus, it is not likely that generator misalignment is a causal factor of WECs. In contrast, during transient events, the bearings experienced alternating periods of high stress, torque reversals, and loads under the minimum requisite at high rotating speeds while showing indications of sliding, all of which could be related to the formation of WECs.« less
  • Wind turbine gearboxes do not achieve their expected design life. The cost of gearbox replacements and rebuilds and the downtime associated with these failures increase the cost of wind energy. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy established the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Gearbox Reliability Collaborative (GRC). Its goals are to understand the root causes of premature gearbox failures and improve their reliability. To date, the GRC has focused on a 750-kW drivetrain with a three-stage, three-point-mounted gearbox. A nonproprietary version of the gearbox containing CRBs with C3 clearances in the planetary stage was customized. Two of these gearboxes,more » GB1 and GB2, were manufactured and then tested in the National Wind Technology Center's 2.5-MW dynamometer and in the field. Major GRC findings include the detrimental effect of rotor moments on planetary load sharing and predicted fatigue, and the risk of bearing sliding in low-torque conditions for three-point configuration drivetrains. Based on the knowledge gained from testing and analysis of the original design, the GRC gearbox was redesigned to improve its load-sharing characteristics and predicted fatigue. This new gearbox is named GB3. As shown in Figure 1, its key improvement is the incorporation of preloaded TRBs that support the planet carrier and planets. Roller loads can be optimized and bearing life maximized with a small preload [4]. These preloaded bearings, along with interference-fitted planet pins, improve alignments and load-sharing characteristics. A semi-integrated planet bearing design also increases capacity and eliminates outer race fretting. Romax Technology, with Powertrain Engineers and the Timken Company (Timken), completed the redesign. Timken manufactured and instrumented the planet gears and bearings. Brad Foote Gearing manufactured the other gearing and assembled the gearbox.« less
  • This paper describes reduced-order, simplified wind turbine models for analyzing the stability impact of large arrays of wind turbines with a single point of network interconnection.