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Ground motions induced by wind turbines 

Author:  | Noise

Abstract – Wind flow transfers forces to the wind turbine’s rotor blades. These then set the rotor in motion. The hub and the gearbox, where present, transfer this rotational energy to the generator for conversion into electrical power. All the rotating components have significant mass and are located at the head of a slender, elastic load-bearing tower in which they induce dynamic effects. The resulting vibrations, generated at the upper end of the tower, are modified by the dynamic properties of the tower structure and pass through the foundations into the ground. Broadband seismometers record these ground vibrations not only directly adjacent to the wind turbine but also at greater distances of (up to) several kilometers from the turbine. We are aware that local residents and opponents of wind power consider that these vibration phenomena bear potential negative health effects. In the context of this paper, seismic vibrations were measured at the foundation of a 2 MW reference turbine. These seismic signals were compared to numerical simulations. Based on this, we explain the physical background. In the past, any ground vibrations measured have usually been attributed exclusively to the excitation frequencies from the rotor. However, the investigations presented here show that the structural properties of the tower structure significantly influence the type and intensity of the vibrations induced in the ground and dominate the ground motion amplitudes. Finally, we show that the targeted use of absorbers can significantly reduce the vibrations induced in the ground.

Ground motions induced by wind turbines

Sven Nagel, Thomas Ummenhofer, Peter Knödel, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Stahl- und Leichtbau, Karlsruhe, Germany
Toni Zieger, Joachim Ritter, Geophysikalisches Institut, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Karlsruhe, Germany
Birger Luhmann, Stuttgarter Lehrstuhl für Windenergie, Institut für Flugzeugbau, Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany

Civil Engineering Design. 2021;3:73–86. doi:10.1002/cend.202100015

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