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Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 3098e3113

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

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

Multibody modelling of varying complexity for modal behaviour analysis of wind


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.

1. Introduction [7] greatly contributed to the high quality of these modelling


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.

Torsional model 6DOF multibody model with Flexible multibody model


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

Fig. 2. Schematic overview of the test set-up.


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

Table 2 described in Table 3, indicates a significant influence of non-


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.

Frequency Range Hz Eigenfrequency Hz Difference % Frequency Range Hz Eigenfrequency Hz Difference %


(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.

h iT resulting stiffness is the mesh stiffness, cg , which is the mean


! stiffness value of all teeth in a mesh.
FBody;1 ¼ FX1 FY1 FZ1 MX1 MY1 MZ1 (2)

h iT 5.1.2.2. Variable gear mesh stiffness. Constant gear mesh stiffness


! 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

Fig. 5. Full test rig model.

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

5.1.3. Other flexibilities 6.1.1. Model description


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.

Fig. 6. Stand alone full gearbox model.


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].

6.1.3. Stand alone full gearbox model


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.

Fig. 12. Auto-FRF of translational DOF in y direction of first interface node.


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

 Rotational-axial modes: In these modes, the central members


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.

Both Rotational-axial modes as Translational-tilting modes are


shown in Fig. 7. For the investigated gearbox, results are shown in
Table 3.

6.2.2. Helical modes


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.

Fig. 14. Planet carrier mode.


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

Table 4
Categorized eigenfrequencies for rigid generic gearbox model.

6 DOF Rigid Multibody Model

Planetary modes Helical Modes Global Mode

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 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.

Multibody Model With Flexible Planet Carrier

Planetary modes Helical Modes Global 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

Planetary modes Helical Modes Global Planet Carrier


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

 Rotational Modes: For these modes translations of the sun and


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).

This article extends the Parker categories for a three dimen-


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