Reducing the number of load cases for fatigue damage assessment of offshore wind turbine support structures using a simple severity-based sampling method
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionWind Energy Science. 2018, 3 805-818. 10.5194/wes-3-805-2018
The large amount of computational effort required for a full fatigue assessment of offshore wind turbine support structures under operational conditions can make these analyses prohibitive, especially for applications like design optimization, for which the analysis would have to be repeated for each iteration of the process. To combat this issue, we present a simple procedure for reducing the number of load cases required for an accurate fatigue assessment. After training on one full fatigue analysis of a base design, the method can be applied to establish a deterministic, reduced sampling set to be used for a family of related designs. The method is based on sorting the load cases by their severity, measured as the product of fatigue damage and probability of occurrence, and then calculating the relative error resulting from using only the most severe load cases to estimate the total fatigue damage. By assuming this error to be approximately constant, one can then estimate the fatigue damage of other designs using just these load cases. The method yields a maximum error of about 6 % when using around 30 load cases (out of 3647) and, for most cases, errors of less than 1 %–2 % can be expected for sample sizes in the range 15–60. One of the main points in favor of the method is its simplicity when compared to more advanced sampling-based approaches. Though there are possibilities for further improvements, the presented version of the method can be used without further modifications and is especially useful for design optimization and preliminary design. We end the paper by noting some possibilities for future work that extend or improve upon the method.