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Structural integrity monitoring of onshore wind turbine concrete foundations

Currie, Magnus and Saafi, Mohamed and Tachtatzis, Christos and Quail, Francis (2015) Structural integrity monitoring of onshore wind turbine concrete foundations. Renewable Energy, 83. pp. 1131-1138. ISSN 0960-1481

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Signs of damage around the bottom flange of the embedded ring were identified in a large number of existing onshore concrete foundations. As a result, the embedded ring experienced excessive vertical displacement. A wireless structural integrity monitoring (SIM) technique was developed and installed in the field to monitor the stability of these turbines by measuring the displacement patterns and subsequently alerting any significant movements of the embedded ring. This was achieved by using wireless displacement sensors located in the bottom of the turbine. A wind turbine was used as a test bed to evaluate the performance of the SIM system under field operating conditions. The results obtained from the sensors and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) showed that the embedded ring exhibited significant vertical movement especially during periods of turbulent wind speed and during shut down and start up events. The measured displacement was variable around the circumference of the foundation as a result of the wind direction and the rotor uplift forces. The excessive vertical movement was observed in the side where the rotor is rotating upwards. The field test demonstrated that the SIM technique offers great potential for improving the reliability and safety of wind turbine foundations.