Estimation of the electric fields and dielectric breakdown in non-conductive wind turbine blades subjected to a lightning stepped leader

Yeqing Wang, Olesya I. Zhupanska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, the electric fields in the wind turbine blades due to the lightning stepped leader are studied, and the dielectric breakdown is assessed. The developed finite element analysis (FEA) includes the full length of the leader and enables one to incorporate various uniform and non-uniform charge density models. The lightning striking distance is calculated using the rolling sphere method. The electric field in a horizontal axis wind turbine with three blades representing Sandia 100 m All-glass Baseline Wind Turbine Blades (SNL 100-00) at three different lightning protection levels (LPL) is computed and compared to the dielectric breakdown strength of the blades. The dielectric breakdown strength of the blades is evaluated based on the experimental data. The results show that the tip region of the blade is the most vulnerable to the dielectric breakdown with the safety factor as low as 1.32 at LPL I.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-942
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • dielectric breakdown
  • electric field
  • finite element analysis
  • lightning stepped leader
  • wind turbine blade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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