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A simplified analysis of the vibration of variable length blade as might be used in wind turbine systems
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Vibration is an inherent phenomenon in dynamic mechanical systems. The work undertaken in this thesis is to identify natural frequencies of a variable length blade. Therefore designers can ensure that natural frequencies will not be close to the frequency (or integer multiples) of the main excitation forces in order to avoid resonance. For a wind turbine blade, the frequency range between 0.5 Hz and 30 Hz is relevant. The turbine blade is approximated by a cantilever, therefore, it is fully constrained where attached to a turbine shaft/hub. Flap-wise, edge-wise and torsional natural frequencies are calculated. The MATLAB program “BEAMANALYSIS.m” has been developed for the finite element analysis of a one dimensional model of the beam. Similarly, a three dimensional model of the beam has been developed in a finite element program Unigraphics NX5. The results found using the MATLAB program are compared with those found with NX5. Satisfactory agreement between the results is found for frequencies up to almost 500 Hz. Additionally, the frequencies one might expect in an experiment are identified. Experimental modal analysis has been performed on a uniform and stepped beam made of mild steel to extract the first five flap-wise natural frequencies. The results found have been compared to numerical results and the exact solution of an Euler-Bernoulli beam. Concurrence is found for the frequency range of interest. Although, some discrepancies exist at higher frequencies (above 500 Hz), finite element analysis proves to be reliable for calculating natural frequencies. Finally, the fixed portion and moveable portion of the variable length blade are approximated respectively by a hollow and a solid beam which can be slid in and out. Ten different configurations of the variable length blade, representing ten different positions of the moveable portion are investigated. A MATLAB program named VARIBLADEANALYSIS.m was developed to predict natural frequencies. Similarly three dimensional models of the variable length blade have been developed in the finite element program Unigraphics NX5.