Rotor blades are the most complex structural components in a wind turbine and are subjected to continuous cyclic loads of wind and self-weight variation. The structural maintenance operations in wind farms are moving towards condition based maintenance (CBM) to avoid premature failures. For this, damage prognosis with remaining useful life (RUL) estimation in wind turbine blades is necessary. Wind speed variation plays an important role influencing the loading and consequently the RUL of the structural components. This study investigates the effect of variable wind speed between the cutin and cut-out speeds of a typical wind farm on the RUL of a damage detected wind turbine blade as opposed to average wind speed assumption. RUL of wind turbine blades are estimated for different initial crack sizes using particle filtering method which forecasts the evolution of fatigue crack addressing the non-linearity and uncertainty in crack propagation. The stresses on a numerically simulated life size onshore wind turbine blade subjected to the above wind speed loading cases are used in computing the crack propagation observation data for particle filters. The effects of variable wind speed on the damage propagation rates and RUL in comparison to those at an average wind speed condition are studied and discussed.
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Remaining Useful Life, wind turbine blades, fatigue, Particle filters, Prognosis
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