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Wind and Structures
  Volume 25, Number 1, July 2017 , pages 79-100

Nonlinear response history analysis and collapse mode study of a wind turbine tower subjected to tropical cyclonic winds
Kaoshan Dai, Chao Sheng, Zhi Zhao, Zhengxiang Yi, Alfredo Camara and Girma Bitsuamlak

    The use of wind energy resources is developing rapidly in recent decades. There is an increasing number of wind farms in high wind-velocity areas such as the Pacific Rim regions. Wind turbine towers are vulnerable to tropical cyclones and tower failures have been reported in an increasing number in these regions. Existing post-disaster failure case studies were mostly performed through forensic investigations and there are few numerical studies that address the collapse mode simulation of wind turbine towers under strong wind loads. In this paper, the wind-induced failure analysis of a conventional 65 m hub high 1.5-MW wind turbine was carried out by means of nonlinear response time-history analyses in a detailed finite element model of the structure. The wind loading was generated based on the wind field parameters adapted from the cyclone boundary layer flow. The analysis results indicate that this particular tower fails due to the formation of a full-section plastic hinge at locations that are consistent with those reported from field investigations, which suggests the validity of the proposed numerical analysis in the assessment of the performance of wind-farms under cyclonic winds. Furthermore, the numerical simulation allows to distinguish different failure stages before the dynamic collapse occurs in the proposed wind turbine tower, opening the door to future research on the control of these intermediate collapse phases.
Key Words
    wind turbine tower; tropical cyclone; wind load; buckling analysis; structural collapse; failure mode
Kaoshan Dai: State Key Laboratory of Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China;
Key Laboratory of Energy Engineering Safety and Disaster Mechanics, Ministry of Education (Sichuan University) Chengdu, China
Chao Sheng, Zhi Zhao, Zhengxiang Yi: State Key Laboratory of Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
Alfredo Camara: Department of Civil Engineering, City University London, UK
Girma Bitsuamlak: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Western Ontario, Canada


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