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Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

Impacts of Atmospheric Turbulence on Wind Turbine Main-Bearing Function and Failures

Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

, Prof James Brasseur Saturday, May 01, 2021 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Glasgow United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering Applied Mathematics Civil Engineering Electrical Engineering Energy Technologies Environmental Engineering Geophysics

About the Project

This PhD is part of an international collaboration between the Universities of Strathclyde and Colorado and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

 Aims and Objectives

The overall objective of the proposed research programme is to characterize the impacts of energetic atmospheric turbulence eddies on the time variations in the loads on wind turbine main bearings using high fidelity computer models and simulations. Our specific objectives include:

Development of high-resolution large-eddy simulations (LES) of the daytime atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) at a minimum of two different stability states.

Development of advanced wind turbine blade actuator line models of turbine rotors embedded within the atmospheric boundary layer LES, including capabilities to simulate both rigid and elastic blade response.

Application of contact models of the wind turbine main-bearing-on-main-shaft to investigate effects of ABL generated loading. The focus of this stage will be the characterization of spatiotemporal changes in main bearing load zones and response magnitudes in relation to time changes in main shaft applied moments and loading; in addition, load impacts for individual rollers and the possible damage resulting will also be studied.

Development, execution and analysis of computational experiments to generate large datasets for quantifications and analysis of main bearing response to the passage of atmospheric and wake turbulence eddies through wind turbine rotors.

Location of Research Efforts

The first two objectives will be developed at the University of Colorado, Boulder USA, under the direct supervision of Professor Brasseur and with input from Dr Hart at Strathclyde and Dr Keller at NREL. These will be integrated with objective 3 to be developed at Strathclyde University under the direct supervision of Dr Hart. Analysis and all developments will be overseen by the Strathclyde-Colorado-NREL team.

Applicant Pre-Requisites

We seek a student with the following qualifications:

       Strong background and expertise in graduate-level fluid dynamics and aerodynamics

       Experience in computational fluid dynamics and high-performance computing

       Experience in computer code development

       A strong interest in interdisciplinary learning and research, computational methods, mathematical modelling and mechanics-based analysis

      Interest in international collaborations with a willingness to live in Boulder Colorado and Glasgow Scotland for roughly two years in each location (travel support provided)

       An ability to work well in a team and collaborate across a large project with multiple ongoing subprojects.

 For more information, please see the full advert available at:

This project is related to the following subject areas: Engineering, Fluid Dynamics, Atmospheric Physics, Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics, Energy, Civil & Structural Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Environmental Engineering.

Funding Notes

Applicants must be UK students or EU students with ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-settled’ status in the UK.

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