• MaSiWEC - Material and Signal processing based prediction of WEC probability
  • Number of Partners: 5
  • Coordinator: VUB
  • Start Date 01/07/2018
  • Duration: 4 Years
  • Total Budget: €1.498.081
  • Funded by SIM

MaSiWEC Consortium Partners


Project Context

The MaSiWEC project resides under the SIM program Material Durability for Off-Shore (MaDurOS), which was created in 2012. The driving force for initiation of this program was the reality that the off-shore environment puts severe durability requirements on materials, one particular characteristic being that material is often simultaneously faced with coupled damage mechanisms: corrosive, fatigue and/or abrasion. Within  this  program,  MaSiWEC  aims  to  tackle  a  phenomenon  which  plagues the  wind industry,  namely  the degradation of drivetrain bearing  material  due  to white  etching  cracking (WEC). WEC  is  known  to  be  a  coupled  mechanism  involving  fatigue  and environmental  influences, and  can  reduce  bearing  lifetime  to  30%  or  less  of  its  expected  value. Although the main drivers towards the occurrence of WEC have been identified, its exact mechanism of material degradation and the specific conditions leading to WEC are not yet understood. This hampers the  development  of predictive WEC  lifetime  models  and  improved  monitoring  strategies  that can account for the likelihood and progression rate of WEC.

Project Description

MaSiWEC provides  a  unique collaboration between Flemish  academic  institutes and industrial value  chain  players,  and  NREL  (National  Renewable  Energy  Laboratory,  USA). Three  major project lines are put forward:

1.    Advanced  microstructural  investigations  on  (failed)  bearing  materials  will  produce  statistically reliable data to construct a sound hypothesis for the mechanism of WEC, and a quantitative model for effects of microstructural parameters on macrostructural material performance. This information will then be fed into the following two project lines.
2.    A predictive model for bearing lifetime will be developed, based on the physics of WEC and with attention for pragmatism. This model will include the stages of crack initiation and propagation, and will  result  in  a  likelihood  criterion  for  the  development  of  WEC  and  a  quantitative  assessment  of remaining lifetime.
3.    A WEC assessment methodology will be set out on the level of the bearing system, based on load and  vibration  monitoring  signals.  Supported  by  the  gained  material  knowledge,  combinations  of WEC initiators will be linked to the operational states of the turbine. A simplified load monitoring technique  is  proposed  based  on strain  gauges  installed  in  the  wind  turbine  tower  and  a  dynamic drivetrain model (in collaboration with NREL).

These  three  project  lines  are  eventually  joined and  iteratively  optimized into  a  synergetic framework for “Material Based Probability of Failure (MB-PoF)”. This framework will be validated and strengthened by an on-shore turbine measurement campaign executed by NREL and a measurement campaign in a Flemish off-shore wind-mill park.