Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering


Wind turbine blade structural designers need measured blade structural load data to project blade life. These data are necessary to validate analytical predicton models and to optimize advanced blade structural designs. The objective of this work is to furnish designers current blade load data and to compare the analytical blade load predictions to the measured loads.

This analysis is based on ninety hours of wind turbine loads data collected in 1990, on the SERI 7.9 m and Aerostar 7.5 m blades. The blades were installed on identical turbines, located adjacent to each other. The data were collected covering a wide range of atmospheric conditions. The data were characterized based on several meteorological parameters that are well correlated with loads, including atmospheric stability, turbulence level, and mean wind speed.

As part of this effort, measured blade flapwise and edgewise bending moments were compared to FLAP: an analytical computer prediction model, developed at the Solar Energy Research Institute. Four mean wind speed data sets: 12, 17, 22, and 27 mph, were used in the load comparisons. The methodology included experimental determination of two important, but often difficult to model, input parameters: blade mass and stiffness distributions.

From the ninety hours of test data, 409 valid 10-minute

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