Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2021-93
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2021-93

  04 Oct 2021

04 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

Wind turbine main-bearing lubrication – Part 2: Simulation based results for a double-row spherical roller main-bearing in a 1.5 MW wind turbine

Edward Hart1, Elisha de Mello2, and Rob Dwyer-Joyce2 Edward Hart et al.
  • 1Wind Energy and Control Centre, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • 2Leonardo Centre for Tribology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Sheffield, UK

Abstract. This paper is the second in a two-part study on lubrication in wind turbine main-bearings. Where “Part 1” provided an introductory review of elastohydrodynamic lubrication theory, this paper will apply those ideas to investigate lubrication in the double-row spherical roller main-bearing of a 1.5 MW wind turbine. Lubrication is investigated across a “contact conditions dataset” generated by inputting processed loads, obtained from aeroelastic simulations, into a Hertzian contact model of the main-bearing. From the Hertzian model is extracted values of roller load and contact patch dimensions, along with the time rate-of-change of contact patch dimensions. Also included in the dataset are additional environmental and operational variable values (e.g. wind speeds and shaft rotational speeds). A suitable formula for estimating film thickness within this particular bearing is then identified. Using lubricant properties of a commercially available wind turbine grease, specifically marketed for use in main-bearings, an analysis of film thickness across the generated dataset is undertaken. The analysis includes consideration of effects relating to starvation, grease thickener interactions and possible dynamic EHL effects. Results show that the modelled main-bearing would be expected to operate under mixed lubrication conditions for a non-negligible proportion of its operational life, indicating that further work is required to better understand lubrication in this context and implications for main-bearing damage and operational lifetimes. Key sensitivities and uncertainties within the analysis are discussed, along with recommendations for future work.

Edward Hart et al.

Status: open (until 16 Nov 2021)

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Edward Hart et al.

Edward Hart et al.

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Short summary
This paper is the second in a two-part study on lubrication in wind turbine main-bearings. Investigations are conducted concerning lubrication in the double-row spherical roller main-bearing of a 1.5 MW wind turbine. This includes consideration of effects relating to starvation, grease thickener interactions and possible dynamic EHL effects. Results predict that the modelled main-bearing would be expected to operate under mixed lubrication conditions for a non-negligible proportion of its life.