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Renewable Energy

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/renene

turbine gearboxes

Jan Helsen a, *, Frederik Vanhollebeke b, Ben Marrant b, Dirk Vandepitte a, Wim Desmet a

a

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Celestijnenlaan 300b, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium

b

Hansen Transmissions International nv, De Villermontstraat 9, 2550 Kontich, Belgium

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In the currently booming market of wind turbines, a clear focus is put on the design of reliable and cost-

Received 18 January 2011 effective subsystems, such as the gearbox. A requirement for reliable gearbox design calculations is

Accepted 17 March 2011 sufﬁcient insight in the dynamics of the entire wind turbine drive train. Since traditional wind turbine

Available online 15 April 2011

design codes reduce the drive train to just a few degrees of freedom, considerable research effort is spent

in advanced modelling and simulation techniques to gain more insights in the dynamics at hand. This

Keywords:

work focusses on the gearbox modal behaviour assessment by means of three more complex modelling

Gear dynamics

techniques of varying complexity: the purely torsional-, rigid six degree of freedom with discrete ﬂex-

Drive train

Wind turbine

ibility and ﬂexible multibody technique. Both simulation and experimental results are discussed. Typical

Flexible multibody mode categories for traditional wind turbine gearboxes are deﬁned. Moreover the challenge of the

deﬁnition of an accurate approach to condense ﬁnite element models for representing the ﬂexible

components in the ﬂexible multibody models is overcome. Furthermore the interaction between the

structural modes of the planet carrier and planetary ring ﬂexibility with the overall gearbox modes is

investigated, resulting in the deﬁnition of two new mode categories: the planet carrier modes and

planetary ring modes.

Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

techniques. However, the wind turbine gearbox is reduced to just

Guaranteeing a robust and reliable wind turbine design under a few degrees of freedom in these models, yielding limited detail in

increasingly demanding conditions requires an expert insight into describing the dynamic behaviour. In general, the simulated

dynamic loading effects of the full turbine and its subsystems. outputs of the traditional wind turbine codes represent the

Excessive vibrations is a main cause of turbine standstill [1]. The mechanical loads at the rotor hub, i.e. at the interface between rotor

operating circumstances are largely determined by wind ﬁeld and gearbox. These loads include load variations at the global level,

turbulence, electricity grid disturbance and, in the case of an but lack detail of drive train dynamics on component level.

offshore turbine, sea wave excitation. Traditionally, aeroelastic According to current industry standards, these global loads at the

codes used to model the wind turbine, represent most relevant rotor hub are processed by the gearbox manufacturer into design

external conditions at the site, including aerodynamic loads [2,3], loads in the form of load spectra and equivalent loads at component

gravitational loads, inertial loads and operational loads. The latter level. In this process, safety and application factors, according to

consist of generator torque, loads induced by certain control actions DIN 3990 [8] and DIN ISO 281 [9], are typically used for loads on

such as blade pitching, starting up, braking or yawing. As described gears and bearings. However, limited knowledge of dynamic loads

by Peeters [4,5], these turbine codes’ outputs consist of time series on component level prevents full assessment of the effect of

describing the load variations. All external conditions are modelled unfavorable loading conditions, such as peak loads and load

in detail for operational and fault conditions. Expertise of dedicated reversals in terms of fatigue or other component failure modes.

specialists and research groups in the domains of wind loads, Therefore, insufﬁcient insight in the gearbox dynamics is obtained.

electricity grid, rotor dynamics, generator [6] and control systems In addition, due to the steadily increasing size of wind turbines, not

only turbine structural ﬂexibility, consisting of tower, nacelle and

rotor is signiﬁcant. Due to larger forces and moments in multi-

megawatt machines, internal gearbox ﬂexibilities have become of

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ32 16 322587.

E-mail address: jan.helsen@mech.kuleuven.be (J. Helsen). larger inﬂuence on the global dynamic turbine behaviour. It makes

0960-1481/$ e see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.renene.2011.03.023

J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113 3099

high quality drive train component design based on traditional discusses the level of detail of information gathered from each

calculations impossible and expresses the need for more advanced modelling approach.

numerical simulation techniques.

This article focusses on wind turbine gearbox modal behaviour 2.1.1. Purely torsional multibody models

assessment and suggests the multibody technique to overcome the In this ﬁrst technique, the gearbox is modelled as an assembly of

downsides of the traditional models. Multibody models with torsional DOF bodies connected by one-dimensional spring

different degree of complexity are investigated and can be classiﬁed systems. This implies that the model can only calculate torsional

according to increasing complexity as: eigenfrequencies. The models will be implemented in the software

DRESP [10].

Purely torsional multibody models

Six degree of freedom rigid multibody models with discrete 2.1.2. Six DOF rigid multibody models with discrete ﬂexibility

ﬂexibility In the second approach all bodies have six DOFs. Therefore more

Full ﬂexible multibody models complicated dynamic component behaviour can be described. Six

DOF spring-damper systems introduce discrete ﬂexibilities into the

This work indicates the improvement of the purely torsional system, facilitating a more detailed description of gear mesh and

models compared to the traditional models. However, based on the bearing stiffness. Hansen Transmissions is implementing such

discussed experimental results, the need for even more advanced models in the software Simpack [11e14], while KU Leuven is using

models is shown. Therefore the rigid six degree of freedom (DOF) Virtual.Lab Motion [15,16].

and ﬂexible multibody modelling techniques are introduced.

Advantages as well as limitations of each modelling technique are 2.1.3. Full ﬂexible multibody models

indicated, whereas challenges related to each modelling technique In addition to discrete ﬂexibilities, taken into account in the

are revealed. In conclusion, the ﬂexible multibody modelling previous model, a more detailed approach also includes the ﬂexi-

technique is suggested as the best suited for wind turbine gearbox bility of different drive train components. This is achieved by rep-

modelling. However, given the limited literature about full ﬂexible resenting ﬂexibility of drive train components, such as for example

gearbox modelling quite some challenges remain in accurate ﬂex- shafts and planet carriers by means of FE models [17]. This allows to

ible gearbox modelling. The deﬁnition of accurate coupling struc- visualize modal inﬂuence of different gearbox subcomponent

tures which facilitate the condensation of the ﬁnite element (FE) ﬂexibilities [18]. Complex geometry and numerical convergence

models representing the ﬂexible components and couple these requirements, however, will result in a signiﬁcant number of nodal

models with the rigid multibody model. A new approach, the degrees of freedom for the FE model to accurately describe body

ﬂexible multipoint constraints (MPCs), is suggested and compared ﬂexibility, which makes the models computationally expensive. To

to the rigid MPC approach described in literature. Moreover the keep calculation times to a minimum, FE structures will be

inﬂuence of planet carrier and planet ring ﬂexibility on the gearbox condensed by an appropriate model reduction technique. The Craig

modal behaviour is investigated. Bampton component modes synthesis (CMS) method will be used

as modal reduction technique. In this reduction scheme, the modal

2. Approach transformation set consists of constrained modes and normal

modes [19].

2.1. Modelling techniques

2.2. Experimental validation

This section gives a general overview of the discussed modelling

techniques. Table 1 gives an overview of the level of complexity Multibody models can only add value to the design process if

contained in each modelling approach. The table is divided in two simulation results prove to be representative and reliable, which

parts. The ﬁrst part, einput parameterse, illustrates the differences requires sufﬁcient experimental validation. Test rig based valida-

in the model components. The second part of the table, eoutputse, tion is performed on a 13 MW test rig, shown in Fig. 1, on which two

Table 1

Overview of the modelling techniques used.

discrete ﬂexibility

Input parameters

Gears Constant torsional gear Variable torsional gear mesh stiffness Variable torsional gear mesh stiffness

mesh stiffness Variable axial/radial gear mesh stiffness Variable axial/Radial gear mesh stiffness

Variable tilt gear mesh stiffness Variable tilt gear mesh stiffness

Bearings Constant equivalent torsional Variable axial/radial bearing stiffness Variable axial/radial bearing stiffness

bearing stiffness Variable tilt bearing stiffness Variable tilt bearing stiffness

Shafts Discrete torsional stiffness Discrete torsional stiffness Full ﬁnite element representation

Equivalent bending stiffness Discrete bending stiffness

Connections(Splines,keys) Torsional spline connection Discrete torsional stiffness Discrete torsional stiffness

Wedges not included Discrete bending stiffness Discrete bending stiffness

Discrete tilting stiffness Discrete tilting stiffness

Structural components (Planet Represented by equivalent Discrete torsional stiffness Full ﬁnite element representation

Carrier, Gearbox housing) torsional stiffness Discrete bending stiffness

Outputs

Torque information x x x

Detailed reaction forces x x

Internal component deformations x

early design stage realistic representation

3100 J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

Fig. 1. The concept of the back-to-back gearbox test rig is based on the vision that it is possible to transform wind turbine behaviour into test rig conditions. The gearboxes in this

photo are gearboxes for the REpower 6M turbine. This photo is only used for clariﬁcation of the test rig concept. Measurement results from other gearboxes were used for the

research in this paper. (*) represents an optional speed reducer (3:1 gearbox).

gearboxes can be placed in a back-to-back set-up and be subjected 3. Purely torsional multibody modelling

to dynamic load cases representing wind turbine conditions [20].

Analogous to the operation of a wind turbine, the ‘wind’ side of the 3.1. Modelling approach

test rig is speed controlled, whereas the ‘generator’ side is torque

controlled [7]. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) A model consisting of the two gearboxes with both planetary

applies a similar approach for investigating dynamic loads and and helical gear stages, as well as the test rig set-up was devel-

improving wind turbine gearbox reliability. Testing is performed on oped. Main model inputs are inertias, derived from CAD-geometry

a dynamometer test rig and in a wind turbine in the ﬁeld [21,12]. and component stiffness values, calculated based on detailed FE

This work experimentally proves the limitations of the purely analyses. Shaft torsional and bending deformation, gear mesh

torsional models in describing gearbox modal behaviour. Further- stiffness and bearing ﬂexibility were calculated analytically.

more a veriﬁcation of a full ﬂexible multibody model with focus on Planet, planet carrier and planet ring deformations were accoun-

eigenfrequencies is discussed. ted for by means of torsional stiffnesses determined on the basis of

J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113 3101

Overview of identiﬁed eigenfrequencies. torsional eigenmodes on gearbox dynamics.

Frequency (Hz) Description of Mode Kahraman [23] assessed the ability of strictly torsional models in

2.25 Torsional rotational mode anti symmetric describing planetary stage modal behaviour by comparing results

around the coupling between GBX1 and GBX2 from torsional models to those of three DOF transverse-torsional

(this mode is mainly determined by the test rig dimensions) models. Kahraman concluded that the transverse-torsional models

[0e100] HSS axial mode shape

provided a more general and accurate means of modelling plane-

[0e100] Torsional rotational mode symmetric around

the coupling. Kinetic and potential energy on tary gear stages. Moreover, Lin and Parker [24,25] investigated

high speed side planetary gear modal behaviour, using analytical three DOF planar

[100e200] Kinetic energy at low speed side and axial displacements lumped parameter models with two translations DOFs and one

of ISS and LSS rotation. Therefore, tilting motion was not accounted for, nor were

[100e200] Kinetic energy at low speed side

[600e700] Kinetic energy at axial displacement of HSS and

other than radial bearing stiffness values. Gear mesh interactions

ISS as well as potential energy at HSS were represented by linear springs. Lin and Parker indicate the

[700e800] Kinetic energy at ISS shaft existence of signiﬁcant non-torsional eigenmodes. In addition

Peeters [4,5] has shown similar need for extending dynamic models

with non-strictly torque based information. Using 6DOF multibody

detailed FE analyses. This model was used to calculate torsional models with discrete ﬂexibility Peeters’ results, contained similar

eigenfrequencies. modal behaviour, as described by Lin and Parker. In addition extra

modal deformation originating from the three extra introduced

DOFs was found. Summarizing torsional models can give ﬁrst

3.2. Measurements insights in the early design stages. However both measurements as

well as literature indicate the need for more advanced modelling

A measurement campaign was set-up on a back-to-back test rig, techniques.

schematically shown in Fig. 2. The main goal was to estimate the

quality of the torsional model to represent physical reality. In this 5. Six DOF multibody models with discrete ﬂexibility

respect, in addition to torsional displacement measurements, also

axial displacement measurements were made by axial displace- 5.1. Modelling approach

ment sensors placed on three shafts. Further details are provided in

[22]. If axial mode shapes were to be found within the gearbox In the six DOF multibody with discrete ﬂexibility approach,

operating range, these could not be characterized using the ﬂexibilities interconnecting rigid components are modelled in

torsional model; thereby limiting its value to represent physical a discrete fashion using spring-damper relationships. In this

reality. From measurements in a frequency range up to 800 Hz, approach, main ﬂexibility contributions are expected to originate

seven eigenfrequencies were identiﬁed; three of which are only from bearings, splines and gear meshing (cfr. Table 1). Both

visible in the axial displacement sensor’s signals and therefore a planetary and a helical gear stage shown in exemplary form in

considered as non-torsional mode shapes. For conﬁdentiality Figs. 3 and 4. Gearbox models of different conﬁgurations can be

reasons, exact eigenfrequency values are not reported in this generically built using these subsystems.

document. Instead, a frequency range and a description of the

corresponding mode shape are given in Table 2. Axial modes 5.1.1. Bearings

determined from measured results could not be matched with the Bearing stiffnesses are a ﬁrst important ﬂexibility in the gearbox

model as the model contains only torsional DOFs. This illustrates model [26e28]. In gearbox multibody modelling, a single 6 6

the limitation of purely torsional modelling with regard to repre- spring-damper relationship, linking shaft displacements and rota-

senting physical reality. These limitations will be discussed in more tions to bearing forces and moments is traditionally used. In the

detail in the following section. described models a constant bearing stiffness K and damping C are

used. Cross terms are not accounted for. This results in the

following representation:

4. Need for more advanced multibody models " #

FBody;1 qBody;1 q_

Torsional multibody models already allow for a ﬁrst identiﬁca- ¼ Kbearing$ þ Cbearing _ Body;1 (1)

FBody;2 qBody;2 qBody;2

tion of resonance issues, facilitating early design decisions.

However, the presence of axial modes in the measurements where:

Table 3

Results from veriﬁcation of natural frequencies from modes with experimental results.

(0e100) f1 15 (200e300) f12 2

(0e100) f2 / (200e300) f13 2

(0e100) f3 15 (200e300) f14 1

(0e100) f4 4 (300e400) f15 2

(0e100) f5 10 (400e500) f16 4

(0e100) f6 / (400e500) f17 3

(100e200) f7 1 (400e500) f18 4

(100e200) f8 4 (500e600) f19 1

(100e200) f9 0 (500e600) f20 0

(100e200) f10 1 (700e800) f21 3

(200e300) f11 3 (800e900) f22 3

3102 J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

Fig. 3. Outline of helical gear stage multibody model with discrete ﬂexibility: (a)Helical gear stage, (b)Multibody implementation including bearings and gear mesh.

! stiffness value of all teeth in a mesh.

FBody;1 ¼ FX1 FY1 FZ1 MX1 MY1 MZ1 (2)

! approach gives a good ﬁrst estimate for gear meshing effects under

FBody;2 ¼ FX2 FY2 FZ2 MX2 MY2 MZ2 (3)

the assumption that the gear is moderately or heavily loaded and

not running near resonance [31]. Many authors however suggest

h iT

!

qBody;1 ¼ x1 y1 z1 q1 ry1 rz1 (4) the use of variable gear mesh stiffness. In as early as 1958, Harris

[32] suggested, that there was parametric excitation due to stiffness

variation of the gear teeth. Moreover, Parker, Agashe and Vijayakar

h iT

! [33,34] found this non-linear non-constant mesh stiffness to be

qBody;2 ¼ x2 y2 z2 q2 ry2 rz2 (5)

a signiﬁcant excitation source within planetary systems based on

with FBody;1 the forces and moments at Body 1 and qBody;1 the a FE contact mechanics model validated with experimental results

projections of the positions and orientations of the gear in its [35]. Their conclusions were compared by Ambarisha and Parker to

reference frame. a different modelling approach: mathematical lumped parameter

2 3 analytical models. In order to result in good convergence with the

kaxial 0 0 0 0 0 previously discussed FE based model [36], these analytical models

6 0 kradial 0 0 0 0 7 needed a varying mesh stiffness. One formulation for a variable

6 7

6 0 0 kradial 0 0 0 7 mesh stiffness function based on the ISO approach is given by Cai

Kbearing ¼ 6

6 0

7 (6)

6 0 0 0 0 0 7 7 [37,38]. Multiple teeth contact and tooth surface errors, such as

4 0 0 0 0 ktilt 0 5 proﬁle error and lead error are considered. The Cai stiffness func-

0 0 0 0 0 ktilt tion is implemented in a 12 by 12 relationship linking forces to

displacements, to describe the meshing of two gears:

" #

5.1.2. Gear mesh

FBody;1 qBody;1 q_

5.1.2.1. Constant gear mesh stiffness. Gear mesh can be modelled by ¼ KGearMesh$ þ CGearMesh$ _ Body;1 (7)

FBody;2 qBody;2 qBody;2

means of a constraint equation [29] or a 6 6 stiffness matrix with

either constant or variable values. Classic gear mesh stiffness

calculations based on international standards, such as DIN 3990 [8] Another formulation is the Simpack gear contact element, which

and ISO 6336 [30], provide a constant mesh stiffness value. The is an analytical force element built to the DIN 3990 standard,

Fig. 4. Outline of planetary gear stage multibody model with discrete ﬂexibility: (a)Planetary gear stage, (b)Multibody implementation including bearings and gear mesh.

J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113 3103

describing variable tooth stiffness and accounting for backlash, 6. Model implementation

dynamic separation distance, multiple tooth contact and material

properties of both gears [11,39]. 6.1. Full test rig model

Other ﬂexibilities than the ones presented above can be repre- In order to facilitate accurate comparison and updating of

sented as well. For example, shaft bending stiffness can be calcu- the multibody model with experimental results from the test rig,

lated analytically and superposed on the bending stiffness of its the simulation model should fully represent the dynamics of the

bearings. Based on detailed FE calculations, similar equivalent measurement set-up. This implies, that in addition to a detailed

torsional and bending stiffness values at bearing locations can be model of two back-to-back gearboxes, a detailed multibody

determined for approximating planet carrier ﬂexibility. This model of the test rig itself is included as well in the simulations.

approach is a simpliﬁcation, compared to full ﬂexible multibody This test rig model includes the coupling between the two

modelling. Nevertheless, since calculation times and implementa- gearboxes, the two generators and test rig controller and is

tion times are reduced drastically, it is very valuable for industry. shown in Fig. 5.

3104 J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

Fig. 7. Planetary mode shapes: (a)Rotational-axial mode, (b)No modal deformation (reference), (c)Translational-tilting mode.

Fig. 8. Two exemplary Helical mode shapes: (a)Axial translation mode corresponding to eigenfrequency at 562Hz, (b)No modal deformation (reference), (c)Mode of ISS about one of

its’ radial axes corresponding to eigenfrequency at 485Hz.

6.1.2. Model veriﬁcation with focus on eigenfrequencies by means of intermediate shaft (ISS) (4). On the ISS a high speed wheel is

measurements on dynamic test facility mounted, which makes contact with the teeth on the high speed

The experimental eigenfrequencies determined from test rig shaft (HSS) (5).

measurements can be used to validate the ﬂexible multibody model

describing the test facility including the two back-to-back gear- 6.2. Model results analysis: full gearbox model

boxes. A similar approach as discussed in [35] is used to realize

a systematic and objective comparison. In this approach the In general, the modes of a full gearbox system differ from the

measured and simulated modes corresponding to the different ones of the stand alone gearbox components [40]. Therefore the full

eigenfrequencies are correlated at the measurement sensor loca- gearbox should be modelled. The modes of the full gearbox con-

tions. The results of this eigenfrequency matching are shown in sisting of both planetary and helical stages, can be classiﬁed in three

Table 3. For conﬁdentiality reasons the exact eigenfrequencies categories: planet modes, helical modes and global modes.

cannot be presented. Instead, frequency ranges that contain the

found eigenfrequencies (numbered f1 to f22) are indicated. More-

over, the difference percentage in frequency between model and

measurements is indicated. For 17 of the eigenfrequencies the

difference between model and measurements is well below 10%.

Two measured eigenfrequencies could not be matched with the

model. Based on this comparison it can be concluded that the

multibody model shows big potential to describe the dynamic

behaviour of a gearbox. For further model veriﬁcation the reader is

referred to [35].

This section asses the inﬂuence of ﬂexibility on gearbox modal

behaviour. The use of a stand alone free boundary condition

gearbox model seems most appropriate. A generic gearbox similar

to the measured gearbox is used to allow the publication of

numeric results. It consists of three gear stages: one planetary stage

and two helical stages, as shown in Fig. 6. The planetary gear stage

(2) consists of a cage planet carrier with three planets and non-

rotating ring wheel. On the low speed shaft (LSS) (3) the slow wheel Fig. 9. Deformation pattern of two shafts connected by ﬂexible MPCs, where the shafts

is pressed. This wheel makes contact with teeth on the penetrate each other, but interface nodes experience no displacement.

J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113 3105

Fig. 10. Low Speed Shaft (LSS): (a)LSS, (b) Multipoint constraint locations in LSS.

Fig. 11. Displacements for the constraint mode unit translation in Y direction: (a)Rigid multibody constraint set-up, (b)Flexible multibody constraint set-up.

3106 J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

rotate and move axially, but do not tilt or translate. The modal

deﬂections of the planets is identical.

Translational-tilting modes: Central members tilt and translate

in plane, but do not rotate or move axially.

Planet modes: Only the planets have modal deﬂection. The

central members do not move. Since these modes only exist for

systems with four or more planets, no planet modes are

expected for the investigated gearbox.

shown in Fig. 7. For the investigated gearbox, results are shown in

Table 3.

In helical modes, the mode shapes are predominantly man-

ifested in the helical gear stages of the gearbox and consist of

rotations or axial translations of respectively the high speed shaft,

intermediate speed shaft and/or low speed shaft. These modes are

similar to the modes typically found in helical gear systems. For the

investigated gearbox, eigenfrequencies can be categorized into low

speed helical stage modes and high speed helical stage modes,

Fig. 13. Multipoint constraint locations of planet carrier model.

according to the helical stage in which they are manifested. Mode

shapes involving the ISS are assigned to both categories. Two of

these modes are visualized in Fig. 8. Eigenfrequencies and corre-

sponding modes are listed in Table 3.

6.2.1. Planetary modes

In planetary modes, the mode shape is mainly manifested in the 6.2.3. Global modes

planetary stage. Lin and Parker [24,25] showed clear mode types The global modes, on the other hand, are manifested in both the

based on their three DOF lumped parameter models. Recently, planetary gear stages and the helical gear stages of the gearbox.

Eritenel and Parker [41] extended the Lin and Parker three DOF Corresponding eigenfrequencies are listed in Table 3.

analytical lumped parameter models to six DOF analytical lumped From the six DOF multibody simulations with discrete ﬂexibility,

parameter models. All planetary system components are consid- it can be concluded that similar mode shapes as in literature can be

ered rigid. Flexibility is situated in gear meshes and bearings. Eri- found. Apart from global modes, modal behaviour is concentrated

tenel and Parker again ﬁnd well-deﬁned modal behaviour and in the respective subcomponents, resulting in separated planetary

deﬁne three vibration mode types: and helical mode shapes.

J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113 3107

Table 4

Categorized eigenfrequencies for rigid generic gearbox model.

Modes Modes (m ¼ 2) Helical Stage Helical Stage

81 290 Axial translation of LSS 344

151 382 Axial translation of HSS 468

200 423 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1055

351 424 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

368 453 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

454 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

848 485 485 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

886 487 487 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

944 562 562 Axial translation of ISS

1047 1015 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

1027 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

1246 1047 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

1246 1047 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

1408 1102 1102 Rotation of HSS and ISS around one of their radial axes (Tilting)

1316 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

1320 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

1421 1421 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

1497 1497 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting)

7. Full ﬂexible multibody models differences in modelling is given in Table 1. Schlecht indicated the

need for the introduction of ﬂexibility of wind turbine structural

As shown in the previous section, six DOF models can already components: i.e.bedplate within multibody turbine models [42,43].

capture complex dynamic behaviour. Nevertheless, it remains From correlation of their ﬂexible multibody model of a wind

impossible to describe local component ﬂexibilities and the cor- turbine to experimental data, Heege et al. show the need for fully

responding effect of component modes on the global gearbox coupled three dimensional models and take ﬂexibility within

behaviour. One possible solution is the use of FE models to repre- turbine and gearbox into account [44]. Moreover, Rigaud indicates

sent structural gearbox components. A detailed description of the the need for shaft and housing ﬂexibility within gearbox multibody

Table 5

Categorized eigenfrequencies of the full gearbox model with ﬂexible planet carrier.

Mode Modes

Rotational-Axial Translational-Tilting Low Speed High Speed Mode shape description

Modes Modes (m ¼ 2) Helical Stage Helical Stage

80 290 Axial translation of LSS 350 643

146 382 Axial translation of HSS 502 659

195 423 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1055 672

343 424 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 759

362 454 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 772

643 455 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 819

659 485 485 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 835

759 487 487 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 842

772 562 562 Axial translation of ISS 847

819 1015 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 958

835 1047 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 962

842 1047 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 986

847 1027 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1059

958 1107 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1098

962 1317 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1107

986 1321 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1218

1047 1422 1422 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1239

1059 1497 1497 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1241

1098 1342

1107 1386

1218 1392

1239 1487

1241 1490

1342

1386

1392

1487

1490

3108 J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

Fig. 15. Planet Carrier auto-FRF for torsional DOF of condensation node of turbine main shaft planet carrier connection MPC.

modelling [45]. This work will therefore further elaborate the effect structure, the ﬂexible MPC, the coupling between the interface node

of ﬂexibility within multibody gearbox modelling. The assessment and the FE nodes is governed by a weighted average:

of the effect of local ﬂexibilities is divided into two parts. Very little

has been published about the accurate coupling between multi- M$ui $ri

Fi ¼ (8)

body and FE models with regard to force and moment transfer. u1 $r12 þ u2 $r22 þ . þ un $rn2

Therefore in the ﬁrst part a detailed comparison is made between

where:

the available coupling structures for interconnecting the compo-

nents’ FE models to the global multibody gearbox model. Secondly,

M ¼ moment at interface node

modal analyses of both the six DOF full gearbox model and of a full

Fi ¼ force at DOF i

gearbox model with respectively ﬂexible planet carrier and ﬂexible

planetary ring are compared to assess the inﬂuence of planet

ui ¼ weighting factor at DOF i

ri ¼ radius from interface node to DOF i

carrier ﬂexibility and planetary ring ﬂexibility.

n ¼ number of interface nodes

7.1. Finite element multibody coupling The main advantage of this approach is that the ﬂexible MPC

does not add any extra stiffness to the FE modelled component.

In order to drastically reduce calculation times, the components’ However, since a weighted average is used, certain displacements

FE models are reduced to just a few degrees of freedom using the of the FE nodes will not result in displacement of the interface node,

Craig Bampton component mode synthesis technique. Main chal-

lenge in doing so, is in ﬁnding the right balance between accurately

Table 7

transferring forces and moments onto the component’s FE model

Rigid components of gearbox planet carrier related modes.

and minimizing the kept number of degrees of freedom. Consider

the case of forces and moments transfer between a bearing Rigid components of planetary modes of multibody model with ﬂexible planet

carrier

-modelled as a single spring-damper system in the multibody model

and the shaft’s FE model. In this example, a single force or moment Rotational-Axial Modes Translational-Tilting Modes Global Modes

introduced at the interface node should be distributed over the 643 502

entire contact area between shaft and bearing. Two possibilities are 659 672

759 1055

discussed. In the ﬁrst, referred to as rigid MPC, the interface node is

772

rigidly connected to the FE nodes. This results in a rigid shell of 819

nodes in which the distance between the different nodes is constant 835

at all times. This drastically stiffens the ﬂexible gearbox component 842

reducing the effect of the ﬂexibility. In the second coupling 847

958

962

Table 6

986

Eigenfrequencies of gearbox structural components.

1047

Structural eigenfrequencies 1059

1098

Planet Carrier Ring wheel with three gear contact multipoint 1107

constraint 1218

800 (m ¼ 2) 70 442 937 1240 1239

950 (m ¼ 2) 70 447 1017 1242 1241

961 143 621 1096 1275 1342

1045 144 632 1107 1302 1386

1140 197 820 1110 1512 1392

1164 200 833 1209 1531 1487

1392 (m ¼ 2) 381 918 1237 1630 1490

J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113 3109

as shown in Fig. 9. This implies underestimation of stiffness of the model. Fig. 12 shows auto-FRF’s, where the interface node most on

structure and can cause penetration of the respective interface the left in Fig. 10 is exited and all other interface nodes are free.

surfaces of two coupled structures. Mathematical details of both Dynamic behaviour differs signiﬁcantly. Up to 2000 Hz, the differ-

MPCs are discussed in [46]. To illustrate the inﬂuence of coupling ence is approximately 18%. The ﬁrst eigenfrequency in case of rigid

structures, a FE model of a shaft will be discussed. Multipoint MPCs is 26% higher than for the model with ﬂexible MPCs. There

constraints are used to introduce bearing, gearwheel and spline can be concluded, that the choice of a coupling structure, optimal

forces and are shown in Fig. 10. for the problem at hand, is of prime importance as it both inﬂu-

A ﬁrst comparison consists of comparing one of the constraint ences the static as well as the dynamic behaviour of the full gearbox

modes for the rigid and ﬂexible multipoint coupling, characterizing model. In this respect, paying special attention to the used MPCs is

shaft behaviour under static deformation, is shown in Fig. 11. Both suggested, when building up gearbox models.

differ signiﬁcantly. However, dynamic behaviour can best be

compared by means of frequency response functions (FRF’s), rep- 8. Modal behaviour comparison between full gearbox six DOF

resenting the absolute value of amplitude of displacement over rigid multibody model with discrete ﬂexibility and full

harmonic excitation. Rigid body dynamics are not accounted for, as gearbox model with ﬂexible planet carrier

in the ﬂoating frame of reference technique the reduced model of

the body ﬂexibility should only describe the elastic deformation of 8.1. Model implementation

the ﬂexible body [47]. The rigid body motion of the ﬂexible body

should not be taken into account a second time by the modal The rigid model with discrete ﬂexibility of stand alone gearbox,

representation, as it is already accounted for in the multibody discussed in Section 4, forms the base for the ﬂexible model. To get

Fig. 16. Planetary ring MPCs for connecting the planetary ring mesh to the gearbox housing and torque arm of the rigid multibody model.

3110 J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

the ﬂexible model, rigid planet carrier was replaced by a CMS motion to describe large translations and rotations of the reference

reduced FE model. Meshes of different mesh element size were frame superposed by FE model deformation to represent small

compared to get stabilization of ﬁrst 15 eigenfrequencies within structural component deformations. Both can be approached sepa-

a range of 1%. The CMS reduction set contained static constraint rately to get an impression of the form of the mode shape found in

modes and ﬂexible modes up to 3000 Hz. Steel was used as planet the rigid multibody model which couples with the structural one of

carier material. Multipoint constraints facilitated coupling between the planet carrier. Table 6 lists descriptions of the rigid parts of the

FE and multibody models as shown in Fig. 13. Both at planet carrier different mode shapes corresponding to the eigenfrequencies of the

bearing interfaces (1) as well as at planet bearing interfaces (2), second range. Helical modes are not listed, as these were hardly

ﬂexible MPCs were preferred. However, to represent the stiffening inﬂuenced by planet carrier ﬂexibility. Global modes however are

effect of the turbine’s main shaft at the planet carrier turbine main inﬂuenced by component ﬂexibility. In Table 4, a planet carrier mode

shaft coupling (3), the use of rigid MPCs was deemed better to is found at 672 Hz. From Table 3 it is clear, that in the rigid body model

represent this interface. All modelling was performed under free no planet carrier related eigenfrequency existed in the range of

boundary conditions. 672 Hz, whereas Table 6 shows the rigid component of the modes of

the ﬂexible models. It is expected that the ﬁrst planet carrier struc-

8.2. Simulation results tural mode at 800 Hz has coupled with the global mode at 468 Hz to

result in the found planetary mode at 672 Hz. For the extra found

For the full gearbox model with ﬂexible planet carrier, the same planetary modes, a similar mechanism is expected. The structural

mode categories are found as for the rigid model. However, one planet carrier modes interacted with the translational-tilting modes

category is added: the Planet Carrier modes. These modes are of the rigid planetary system. Table 6 clearly shows that most of the

dominated by local ﬂexible planet carrier displacements. An example planet carrier modes have an underlying translational-tilting rigid

of such a Planet Carrier Mode is shown in Fig. 14. For the gearbox mode. This translational-tilting mode couples with the planet carrier

under investigation, eigenfrequencies for the model with ﬂexible structural modes to result in the observed modal behaviour. This

planet carrier are categorized in Table 4. A ﬁrst conclusion from signiﬁcantly increases the number of found eigenfrequencies for the

comparison of the eigenfrequencies listed in Tables 3 and 4 is that system. Previous ﬁndings imply that planet carrier ﬂexibility inﬂu-

planet carrier ﬂexibilities have relatively low inﬂuence on modes ences a large frequency range and that it should only be accounted for

from the helical modes category. A second ﬁnding is the increase in when these frequency range is of interest in the speciﬁc gearbox

the number of eigenfrequencies for the model with ﬂexible planet

carrier. This is due to the structural eigenfrequencies of the ﬂexible

planet carrier, listed in Table 5. Moreover, interaction exists between

overall gearbox modes and structural planet carrier modes. Therefore

the frequency range of interest can be divided in two ranges based on

the structural frequencies of the planet carrier: the ﬁrst range

contains all frequencies well below the lowest eigenfrequency of the

planet carrier; whereas the second range stretches from the end of

the ﬁrst one to the highest frequency of interest.

In the ﬁrst range, ﬂexibility of the planet carrier results in

a small decrease of the eigenfrequencies for the Planetary modes.

Given the use of the ﬂoating reference frame approach [47] to

create the ﬂexible multibody model, structural component defor-

mation consists of rigid motion to describe large translations and

rotations of the reference frame superposed by FE model defor-

mation to represent small structural component deformations.

Modal behaviour of the FE model can therefore best be described by

means of frequency response functions (FRF’s), representing the

absolute value of amplitude of displacement over harmonic exci-

tation. Rigid body dynamics are not accounted for, as the reduced

model of the body ﬂexibility should only describe the elastic

deformation of the ﬂexible body. Fig. 15 shows the auto-FRF for the

planet carrier, where the interface node at the turbine main shaft

planet carrier connection is excited and all other interface nodes are

free. The ﬁrst range, indicated in grey in Fig. 15, stretches approx-

imately from 0 Hz to 600 Hz.

The main effect of the ﬂexibility in the ﬁrst range is a very small

decrease of the eigenfrequencies. Based on these ﬁndings it can be

concluded that planet carrier ﬂexibility as such is of less inﬂuence in

the lower frequency range. Therefore, if the goal of the gearbox model

is to investigate dynamic behaviour only for this ﬁrst frequency

range, discrete structural component ﬂexibility representation could

be considered. Such a representation could for example be realized

by discrete springs to represent static bending, torsion and tilting

stiffnesses of the planet carrier. In the second frequency range,

coupling occurs between the structural planet carrier modal behav-

iour and the overall gearbox modal behaviour found in the rigid six

DOF multibody model. Given the use of the ﬂoating reference frame Fig. 17. Gear mesh force introduction multipoint constraint that introduces gear

approach, structural component deformation consists of rigid meshing forces in a 120 section of the planetary ring FE model.

J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113 3111

Table 8

Categorized eigenfrequencies for generic gearbox with ﬂexible ring wheel with three gear mesh for introduction MPCs.

Multibody Model With Flexible Planet Ring With Three Multipoint Constraints

Mode Modes

Rotational-Axial Translational-Tilting Low Speed High Speed Mode shape description

Modes Modes (m ¼ 2) Helical Stage Helical Stage

81 290 Axial translation of LSS 376 70

382 Axial translation of HSS 465 142

151 423 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 153

200 424 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 200

351 453 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 241

368 455 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 262

848 485 485 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 370

860 487 487 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 386

871 562 562 Axial translation of ISS 441

882 1015 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 446

908 1027 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 614

924 1047 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 625

945 1047 Rotation of LSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 820

1246 1107 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 832

1246 1317 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 908

1331 1321 Rotation of HSS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 918

1408 1421 1421 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1061

1497 1497 Rotation of ISS around one of its radial axes (Tilting) 1087

1139

1198

1234

1239

1241

1277

1307

1396

1488

operating ﬁeld. Since the Helical modes, are not inﬂuenced by the However, rim thickness reduction should be implemented with

introduced ﬂexibility of the planet carrier, this results in a categori- care as it increases hoop stresses, which can cause catastrophic

zation in planet-, planet carrier-, helical and global modes (Table 7). failures [49]. Parker et al. extensively investigated the beahaviour of

planetary systems with ﬂexible planetary ring by means of 2-

dimensional models [50e52]. Parker et al. extend their classiﬁca-

9. Modal behaviour comparison between full gearbox six DOF

tion for two dimensional planetary system modal behaviour to the

rigid multibody model with discrete ﬂexibility and full

following categories:

gearbox model with ﬂexible planet ring

9.1. Planetary ring signiﬁcance

carrier and the rigid motion of the ring are zero. All planets

have identical deﬂections.

Planet ring ﬂexibility is directly linked to planet ring rim

Translational Mode: For these modes the rotations of sun and

thickness. This is a key parameter in realizing good noise proper-

carrier and the rigid motion of the ring are zero.

ties, power density and load sharing amongst the planets [48].

Fig. 18. Planetary ring auto-FRF in x translational direction for the condensation node of one of the three gear mesh MPCs.

3112 J. Helsen et al. / Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

Planet Modes: These are not important for the gearsystem Acknowledgments

under investigation, as these modes only occur for systems

with more than three planets This research was performed in the framework of a research

Purely Ring Modes: The displacements of the rigid elements is project supported by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation

zero and there is only elastic ring deformation. by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT Vlaanderen).

sional multibody model with ﬂexible planetary ring in a way that is References

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