Structural optimisation of wind turbine towers based on finite element analysis and genetic algorithm

Other literature type English OPEN
Wang, Lin ; Kolios, Athanasios ; Luengo, Maria Martinez ; Liu, Xiongwei (2016)

A wind turbine tower supports the main components of the wind turbine (e.g. rotor, nacelle, drive train components, etc.). The structural properties of the tower (such as stiffness and natural frequency) can significantly affect the performance of the wind turbine, and the cost of the tower is a considerable portion of the overall wind turbine cost. Therefore, an optimal structural design of the tower, which has a minimum cost and meets all design criteria (such as stiffness and strength requirements), is crucial to ensure efficient, safe and economic design of the whole wind turbine system. In this work, a structural optimisation model for wind turbine towers has been developed based on a combined parametric FEA (finite element analysis) and GA (genetic algorithm) model. The top diameter, bottom diameter and thickness distributions of the tower are taken as design variables. The optimisation model minimises the tower mass with six constraint conditions, i.e. deformation, ultimate stress, fatigue, buckling, vibration and design variable constraints. After validation, the model has been applied to the structural optimisation of a 5MW wind turbine tower. The results demonstrate that the proposed structural optimisation model is capable of accurately and effectively achieving an optimal structural design of wind turbine towers, which significantly improves the efficiency of structural optimisation of wind turbine towers. The developed framework is generic in nature and can be employed for a series of related problems, when advanced numerical models are required to predict structural responses and to optimise the structure.
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