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Transient torque reversals in indirect drive wind turbines
  • +1
  • Saptarshi Sarkar,
  • Håkan Johansson,
  • Viktor Berbyuk,
  • Present Address
Saptarshi Sarkar
Chalmers University of Technology, Saptarshi Sarkar, Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology

Corresponding Author:ssarkar@chalmers.se

Author Profile
Håkan Johansson
Viktor Berbyuk
Present Address


The adverse effect of transient torque reversals (TTRs) on wind turbine gearboxes can be severe due to their magnitude and rapid occurrence compared to other equipment. The primary damage is caused to the bearings as the bearing loaded zone rapidly changes its direction. Other components are also affected by TTRs (such as gear tooth); however, its impact on bearings is the largest. While the occurrence and severity of TTRs are acknowledged in the industry, there is a lack of academic literature on their initiation, propagation and the associated risk of damage. Furthermore, in the wide range of operation modes of a wind turbine, it is not known which modes can lead to TTRs. Further, the interdependence of TTRs on environmental loading like the wind is also not reported. This paper aims to address these unknowns by expanding on the understanding of TTRs using a high fidelity numerical model of an indirect drive wind turbine with a doubly-fed induction generator (DFIG). To this end, a multibody model of the drivetrain is developed in SIMPACK. The model of the drivetrain is explicitly coupled to state-of-the-art wind turbine simulator Open-FAST, and a grid-connected DFIG developed in MATLAB ® 's Simulink ® allowing a coupled analysis of the electromechanical system. A metric termed slip risk duration is proposed in this paper to quantify the risk associated with the TTRs. The paper first investigates a wide range of IEC design load cases to uncover which load cases can lead to TTRs. It was found that emergency stop and symmetric grid voltage drops can lead to TTRs. Next, the dependence of the TTRs on inflow wind parameters is investigated using a sensitivity analysis. It was found that the instantaneous wind speed at the onset of the grid fault or emergency shutdown was the most influential factor in the slip risk duration. The investigation enables the designer to predict the occurrence of TTRs and quantify the associated risk of damage. The paper concludes with recommendations for utility-scale wind turbines and directions for future research.