A Computational Platform for Considering the Effects of Aerodynamic and Seismic Load Combination for Utility Scale Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines


The wide deployment of wind turbines in locations with high seismic hazard has led engineers to take into account a more comprehensive seismic design of such structures. Turbine specific guidelines usually use simplified methods and consider many assumptions to combine seismic demand with the other operational loads effecting the design of these structures. As the turbines increase in size and capacity, the interaction between seismic loads and aerodynamic loads becomes even more important. In response to the need for a computational tool that can perform coupled simulations of wind and seismic loads, a seismic module is developed for the FAST code and described in this research. This platform allows engineers working in this industry to directly consider interaction between seismic and other environmental loads for turbines. This paper details the practical application and theory of this platform and provides examples for the use of different capabilities. The platform is then used to show the suitable earthquake and operational load combination with the implicit consideration of aerodynamic damping by estimating appropriate load factors.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) through contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308, and the assistance of Dr. Jason Jonkman as the technical monitor of this study.

Keywords and Phrases

Computation theory; Damping; Seismic design; Seismology; Wind turbines; Aerodynamic damping; Coupled simulation; Horizontal axis wind turbines; Renewable energies; Seismic load; Aerodynamics; Aerodynamic damping; Aerodynamic-seismic load interaction; Coupled simulations; Horizontal axis wind turbines

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Article - Journal

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© 2016 Institute of Engineering Mechanics (IEM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2016