Offshore wind turbines are subject to varying loads from wind and waves. This results in fatigue of the structures and a finite lifespan. The partners in FIRMEST develop forecasting tools so as to better estimate the lifespan of existing and future wind turbines.
In progress
Jan 2024 - Dec 2026
DBC project

In complex metallic structures such as offshore wind turbines, welded joints are usually the sensitive points that strongly impact the lifespan of the entire structure. A lot of knowledge has been collected, but efficient tools to better calculate the service life of welded connections and therefore the entire structure are still lacking. The partners in FIRMEST are trying to do something about this.

The project aims to develop fast and reliable forecasting tools that can be used to evaluate fatigue in welded joints of offshore wind turbines and other (offshore) structures. These tools are intended for both existing infrastructures and future designs.

Expected innovation outcomes include:

  • methods to generate detailed finite element models of welded joints from 3D scan data;
  • a new approach to local stress calculation and fatigue life assessment;
  • a more accurate method for non-linear fatigue damage accumulation;
  • a virtual detection strategy with one sensor for accurate reconstruction of voltage histories; and
  • a specific data architecture for fatigue details.

The partners focus on combining reliable models for local fatigue strength degradation of welded joints with accurate historical load data for substructures of offshore installations. The aim is to better estimate the lifespan of existing and future wind energy turbines in Belgium and Europe.

Partners: Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Internal Advisory Board: Smulders; Norther; Parkwind; OCAS; 24SEA; Siemens Industry Software; MULTI.Engineering; Kaayman; and Sirris

With the support of: VLAIO 

Contact: Stefaan Mensaert

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