College of Engineering

Develop an Dual Axis Fatigue Test System for Multi-Megawatt Wind Turbine Blades (PHLEX)

The goal of this project is to create a new test system capable of fatigue testing wind turbine blades approximately three times faster and more accurately than existing test systems. The system under development is based on resonant testing technology pioneered by the Principal Investigator and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) over the past decade, which has resulted in three patent applications to date. Of these, US Patent Numbers 7,953,561 and 8,621,934 have been approved, and one patent application is still pending. Unlike existing fatigue test systems, the new PHLEX system will utilize custom designed electro-mechanical actuators to overcome the limitations imposed by hydraulic actuators and will use an additional actuator to achieve greater accuracy and control. The PHLEX fatigue test system will be the first system capable of exciting two blade mode shapes simultaneously at the same frequency with a locked load phase angle. Prior research has shown that this configuration will result in the most accurate fatigue tests available for large turbine blades. Since structural testing will be completed more rapidly and more accurately, blade designers will have access to more and better data and have more time to use this data to optimize their blade designs.


Darris White Dr. Darris White

Professor, MSME Graduate Program Coordinator

Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Darris White is the Graduate Program Coordinator and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests focus on modeling and simulation of dynamic systems including structural dynamics, vehicle dynamics, and control systems. He has conducted research related to automobiles, wind turbines, rail vehicles, robots and airplanes. He also serves as the advisor for the Society of Automotive Engineers at ERAU.