Periodic stability analysis of wind turbines

C.L. Bottasso
Politecnico di Milano
carlo.bottasso@polimi.it

Abstract
The paper proposes a new method for the periodic
stability analysis of wind turbines. The formulation
is based on a periodic input-output model, identified on the basis of a suitable excitation sequence.
Next, periodic stability theory is used for estimating
frequency, damping and participation factors of all
harmonics of interest. Examples are shown to illustrate the main features of the proposed method.
Keywords: wind turbine; stability analysis; linear
time periodic system; system identification; PARX;
output error.

1 Introduction and motivation
The estimation of damping is useful in a variety of
tasks related to the design and verification of a wind
turbine, for example for explaining the causes of
observed vibration phenomena, for assessing the
proximity of the flutter boundaries to the operating
envelope of the machine, for evaluating the efficacy
of control laws in increasing the damping of lowdamped modes, etc.
It is expected that the design of the future large
and very large wind turbines which are being proposed for the exploitation of off-shore resources will
further increase the importance of stability analysis.
In fact, new designs will explore rotors of low solidity with long, slender and light-weight blades operating at high tip-speed-ratios, whose response will
not only be affected by the drive-train/nacelle/tower
flexibility, but also by the additional couplings induced by the hydro-elastic characteristics of the
submerged, and possibly floating, structure and by
its interaction with the marine environment.
It is customary to perform the stability analysis
of a wind turbine assuming that a linear time invariant model of the machine is capable of representing
with sufficient fidelity its response in the proximity
of a given operating condition. In fact, for such systems, stability analysis is a well understood problem, and a range of very effective methods is readily

S. Cacciola
Politecnico di Milano
cacciola@aero.polimi.it

available [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. However, this assumption
represents only an approximation of reality, since it
is also well known that linearized wind turbine models are characterized by periodic, and not time invariant, coefficients [7]. Very few works have been
devoted in the literature to this important problem,
with Refs. [8, 9] providing some of the most recent
examples.
This paper proposes a new method for the stability analysis of wind turbines, which rigorously accounts for the periodic nature of the problem. Furthermore, the method is formulated to be modelindependent, so that it can be applied to wind turbine models of arbitrary complexity operating in
open or closed loop.
The formulation is developed within the stability theory of linear time periodic systems [10, 11]
that shows that the contractivity of the solution is
contained in the monodromy matrix, which maps
the system states into the states after one period
(one rotor revolution). The spectral decomposition
of the monodromy matrix yields the characteristic
multipliers, from which one can readily derive the
characteristic exponents. In turn, the characteristic exponents, being the analogues of the eigenvalues in the linear time invariant case, yield the
frequency and damping factor of each harmonic
for each mode of the system. Finally the periodic
eigenvectors of the system are computed, giving
the participation factors that measure the relative
strength of each harmonic in each mode. Modal
participation factors rigorously clarify the degree of
periodicity of a given system. In fact, the closer the
participation of a certain harmonic of each given
mode is to one, the more that mode behaves as
invariant (i.e. non periodic).
In this work, periodic stability analysis theory is
not applied to the analytical expression of a specific
model, but rather it is formulated in terms of inputoutput discrete time histories. Such time histories
could come from “virtual” experiments performed
on any model, from simplified ones to the more
advanced contemporary comprehensive multibody-

C(t + T ) = C(t). The smallest T that satisfies (2) is the period of the system. The state transition matrix over one period. R = S diag{ηj } S −1 . To study the stability of (1a). y the output vector. In fact. Ψ = Φ(T ) = eR T . Φ(0) = I. (12) n=−∞ The state vector at time t. time histories could also come from measurements obtained on the real wind turbine operating in the field. one gets ∑ Φ(t) = Zj (t)eηj t . chosen so as to excite the response of the mode(s) of interest. The system is asymptotically stable if and only if the eigenvalues odic systems of the monodromy matrix. Φ can be decomposed as Φ(t) = P (t)eR t . D(t + T ) = D(t). (1a) (1b) where t is time. Finally. Outputs are represented by corresponding measurements performed on the wind turbine (e. periodic stability analysis theory is applied on the identified model to yield frequencies. a state space realization of the Periodic Auto-Regressive system with eXogenous inputs (PARX) [12] is fitted to the histories using system identification techniques. damping and modal participation factors for each harmonic of each mode. B(t + T ) = B(t). while Ijj a matrix of suitable dimensions with the sole element (j. accelerations. electrical torque and possibly yaw) or by exogenous inputs related to the wind states (e. (11) j where Zj (t) = P (t)SIjj S −1 . Vector u contains the control inputs (i. it is necessary to consider the autonomous problem x˙ = A(t)x. is related to the where Zj n is a matrix of complex amplitudes of the state at t = 0. (2a) (2b) for each t.e. (9) θj = eηj T . .based aero-hydro-servo-elastic models. R being a constant matrix. According to Floquet theory [14]. The spectral factorization of the A generic linear time periodic (LTP) system can be monodromy matrix gives its eigenvalues θj and the written in state space form as associated eigenvectors S x˙ = A(t)x + B(t)u y = C(t)x + D(t)u. vertical or lateral shears.). blade pitch angles. chosen so as to exhibit a high informational content of the mode(s) of interest. j) equal to 1 and all other elements equal to 0. By simple derivations it is possible to show that Φ obeys the following equation ˙ Φ(t) = A(t)Φ(t). recalling (7). Φ(t) as follows (4) x(t) = Φ(t)x0 . called characterstic multipliers and noted θj .g. (10) where ηj being the characteristic exponents.). belong to the open unit disk in 2. (7) 2 Stability analysis of linear time peri.1 Continuous time the complex plane. Inserting (9) into (6). etc. x(t). and more specifically with the output error method [13]. C(t) and D(t) are the periodic system matrices such that A(t + T ) = A(t). B(t). x the state vector.g. Given such suitable input-output time histories. Since Zj (t) is a periodic matrix. u the exogenous input. (6) where P (t) = P (t + T ) is the periodic part and the second factor captures the contractivity of the solution. torque and/or by externally applied force signals. in this case the u vector is related only to the wind states. A(t). (3) Ψ = S diag{θj } S −1 . wind speed. (8) and consequently. cross-flow. (5) where I is the identity matrix. It is also possible to consider the closed-loop case by including the effects of the control law in the A(t) matrix. it can be expanded in a Fourier series as follows Zj (t) = +∞ ∑ 2π Zj n ei n T t .is termed monodromy matrix. loads. through the state transition matrix nth harmonic of Zj (t). etc. Inputs are represented by either pitch. x0 .

(18) variant case and. such where k is a generic time instant. (19) The characteristic multipliers θj and the eigenvecIn order to measure the relative participation of tors of the monodromy matrix S are computed as in each harmonic ηj + i n 2π T . . 3 Stability analysis by system identification from input-output data 2. This fact will be more thoroughly described in a forthcoming paper. If all Fourier coefficients of Zj in equation (12) were equal to zero. are defined as Ψ = S diag{θj } S −1 . . as in the continuous time case. with matrices Zj n determining their contribution. the harmonics are closely related to the in-plane whirling motions of the rotor center of gravity. the transition where ∥ · ∥ is a matrix norm. +∞. Φ(t) = Ns K−1 ∑ ∑ )k ( 2π Zj n |ηj |e(i∠(ηj )+n K ) . tipliers and exponents is where Ns is the number of states of the system. frequencies. ξj n and ϕj n with n = −∞. . (16) NK . (21) j=1 n=0 This shows that the jth mode is characterized by K exponents with the same modulus and different phases. respectively. (15) Consider the SISO case in which inputs and outputs are sampled at a constant time step ∆t.1 Output-error identification for LTP systems x(k + 1) = A(k)x(k). and the damping factors. The harmonics of each mode can also be given a physical interpretation. ωj n . θj = ηjK . (13) (17) j=1 n=−∞ where P (k) is periodic. except one related to a certain harmonic. (20) ∥Zj n ∥ ϕj n = ∑ . they yield the frequencies. damping factors and participation factors can be readily obtained as in the continuous time case. The total number of samples is noted The transition matrix obeys the following formula N and the number of time step in a period is noted Φ(k + 1) = A(k)Φ(k). to the continuous and discrete time cases. the only surviving harmonic would have a participation factor equal to one. This equation shows that: 2. The monodromy matrix is defined as the transition matrix over one period. A theoretically infinite number of exponents participate in the response of the system.2 Discrete time The autonomous dynamic equations of a generic linear time periodic system in discrete time are 3. ξj n . For example. fully describe the jth mode. the more that mode behaves as invariant. . The characteristic exponents are the analogous of the eigenvalues in the linear time inΨ = Φ(K) = RK . . so that the relationship between characteristic mulrelated to each mode of the system. Once the continuous time exponents are computed. consequently. in the case of the blade edgewise mode. it may be decomposed in periodic and contracting parts as Φ(k) = P (k)Rk . (14) Following the same approach explained previn ∥Zj n ∥ ously for the continuous time case. This fact suggests the use of the harmonic participation factor as a “periodicity indicator”: the closer the participation of a certain harmonic of a given mode is to one. 1. tiple of ∆t. ∆t (22) where ∆t is the sampling time and subscripts c and d refer. then the periodic transition matrix (13) would result in the standard invariant transition matrix. and R is constant. A(k) is a periodic that the period K of the system is an integer mulmatrix of period K such that A(k + K) = A(k). such that P (k + K) = P (k) ∀k. ∀k. Notice that each exponent could be transformed into the continuous one using the following ηj c = ( ) 1 log ηj d . Triads ωj n . chosen here as the matrix can be written as Frobenius one. and.Inserting (12) into (11). the following equation is derived Φ(t) = Ns ∑ +∞ ∑ 2π Zj n e(ηj +i n T )t . their participation factors the continuous time case.

Since there are infinite combinations of matrices A(k). 0 aNs −2 (k)  . . asiℓ . ∑ ∏ yin= T y(k)−C(k) u(j)TB(j)T    A(w)     j=0 w=j+1   . . . ∏ O= (32) T  C(k)   A(j)     j=0   . ℓ = {1 : NFa } and r = {1 : NFb }. An experimental measurement of the outputs y can be expressed as z(k) = y(k) + r(k). .. ℓ=1 (26a) NFb bi (k) = bi0 + ∑( J= N )2 1 ∑( z(k) − y(k) .     . .. The evaluation of (29) for 0 ≤ k ≤ n yields the following system Ox(0) = yin .     .  . . (27) (30) where the right-hand-side of (30) is defined as   y(0) . y(0) = C(0)x(0).      T    k−1 k−1 ... 2 ) bcir cos (rψk ) + bsir sin (rψk ) . 0 aNs (k)  1 0 . These unknown parameters are computed by minimizing the quadratic cost function J defined as the sum of squares of the output error: (24) where the error r is assumed to be white and gaussian. for example. and similarly coefficients bi (k) with their first NFb harmonics. by writing (23) recursively one gets   y(k) = C(k) x(0)T  k−1 ∑ j=0   u(j)T B(j)T  k−1 ∏  A(j)T  + j=0 k−1 ∏ T A(w)T  . it is possible to approximate the coefficients ai (k) with their first NFa harmonics.  . asiℓ . Periodicity of A(k) and B(k) implies periodic coefficients ai (k) and bi (k).  . Such coefficients are collected in a vector of optimization parameters p: { } p = . bcir and bsir represent the problem unknowns to be identified. (29) w=j+1 ∏q where p X = I if p > q. aciℓ . ...   0 1 (25b) ai (k) = ai0 + ∑( ] . 0 where ψk is the azimuth angle at time step k. r=1 (26b) (28) k=1 Initial condition are computed imposing the equality between the first Ns measures and the first Ns outputs. (23a) (23b) where A(k + K) = A(k). (31) and the observability matrix O matrix from instant 0 to instant Ns − 1 is   C(0) . 13]. . bi0 . such that z(k) = y(k) for k = (0. ∀i ∀k. (25c) ) aciℓ cos (ℓψk ) + asiℓ sin (ℓψk ) . . (25a)  . . . 0 aNs −1 (k)      A(k) =  0 1 . and C(k + K) = C(k) ∀k. . . such that ψk = 2kπ/K. . then for k ≥ 1.The proposed identification approach is based on the output error method [15. a1 (k)    .   T    k−1 . . B(k + K) = B(k).. bsir . Ns − 1). 1  bNs (k) bNs −1 (k) bNs −2 (k) . ai0 .     B(k) =    C(k) = [ 0 . bi0 . Coefficients ai0 . In order to minimize the number of identification parameters. . . where ai (k) and bi (k) are the unknown model coefficients. . .. . . it is necessary to choose a particular realization and. y(k) = C(k)x. . aciℓ . which gives NFa where i = {1 : Ns }. . . Dynamic and output equations of a strictly proper LTP system in discrete time are x(k + 1) = A(k)x + B(k)u(k). in which the output of a discrete time periodic system is fitted to a given measure. ... . bcir . . b1 (k) 0 0 .. to consider the matrices of the system in the observable canonical form   0 0 . B(k) and C(k) with the same input-output behavior. .. . such that ai (k) = ai (k + K) and bi (k) = bi (k + K). At k = 0... . .

(35b) This way. The analysis of that model.2 Simplified LTI method So far. (33) B(ℓ) = B0 + ℓ where B0 is the constant matrix and Bsℓ and Bcℓ are the amplitudes of the sine and cosine harmonics.. an alternative simplified formulation can be obtained by expanding the system matrices in Fourier series.Solving (30). The models also shows that the main contributor to the periodicity of the state matrix is gravity. 4 Results A detailed Cp-Lambda [16] aero-elastic model of a 6 MW wind turbine was used in this work for testing the proposed stability analysis formulations in regard of the edgewise rotor modes. Expanding matrix B(k) in Fourier series. Amplitude and length of the doublets were tuned so as to excite a linear response of the modes of interest. which are typically very lightly damped. such that it vanishes very quickly in the first time instants after the perturbation. the blade is represented by a rigid body connected to the hub by means of equivalent hinges. The plots show an excellent correlation between these two quantities. In order to perturb the system. This analysis was conducted in non turbulent wind conditions. from the rated rotor speed Ωr to 1. as also shown in the examples later on. Figure 1 shows a comparison between the normalized edgewise root bending moment measured on the simulation model (solid line) and the one predicted by the identified periodic model (dashed line). This implies that results related to the third mode do not have the same level of accuracy of the first and second modes. Second. (34) where UB is a constant matrix and b(ψk ) is a vector of equivalent harmonic inputs. under the assumptions described below. However such terms is typically x˙ = A0 x + UB b(ψk ). one may transfer the periodicity from B(k) to input u. which also helps in the interpretation of the proposed treatment of the input terms. the periodic part of the coefficients was approximated with NFa = 1 and NFb = 6. for a rotor speed equal to about 1. one may truncate the expansion to the constant term. respectively.33Ωr . Regarding the state matrix.   u(k) cos ψk  = . Such an approximation can be justified with the help of the classical linearized flapping and lagging blade model [7]. since the frequency content of the outputs shows three distinct peaks. one gets ∑( ) Bsℓ sin (ℓψk ) + Bcℓ cos (ℓψk ) . cross flow and gravity act as exogenous inputs that periodically excite the blade. stability analysis can be performed using any standard invariant approach. Then the input term can be rewritten as B(ψk )u(k) = [ B0 Bs1  Bc1  u(k) ] u(k) sin ψk   . In this simplified model.. which is applicable to any problem governed by linear time periodic models. Notice that the third mode has a very short characteristic time. (35a) y = C0 x. The resulting MISO LTI system is 3. a rigorous approach based on the stability theory of LTP systems has been described. whose characteristics in terms of offset and stiffness are chosen so as to match the first flapping and lagging natural frequencies of the blade.13Ωr . i. First. and C(k) are in the observability canonical form. this is also the span of time used to compute the initial conditions. The order of the model was chosen according to some simple considerations. shows that wind shear. in order to investigate the behavior of system in the over-speed regime.. UB b(ψk ). since the periodicity in matrix A(k) has been neglected and the periodicity of the input matrix was transferred to an equivalent periodic input. two edgewise force doublets were applied near the tip and at the middle of the blade span. choose A(k) ≈ A0 . one readily computes the initial con. The number of time steps in a period and the number of periods used for the identification were chosen so as to achieve the best agreement between measures and predicted outputs. For wind turbines.rather small compared to the other sources of peridition x(0). the number of states was set equal to 6. For the input matrix. in the time (top) and frequency (bottom) domains.e.. which affects the blade stiffness in a periodic way. Notice that the observability matrix is odicity. . not reported here for brevity. so always invertible by definition since matrices A(k) that one may think of dropping it. Furthermore. the fact that the wind is constant allows one to identify only one coefficient of the B matrix.

0219 0. .5807 0. Time instants (a) Time comparison 0 Normalized blade root bending moment edge−wise 10 Virtual plant Identified model LTP algorithm −1 10 −2 10 −3 10 Frequencies [×Rev] Damping Participation 2.1351 0.5 −1 −1. −3 0.2. although limited to the 4 per rev.0309 6. the more a Figure 4 shows the amplitude of the harmonics of mode behaves as invariant. damping and shows a resonant condition at rotor speed 1.0434 0. It appears that this simple method captures the main peak with good accuracy.0013 Simplified LTI algorithm −4 10 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Frequency [×Rev] (b) Frequency comparison Frequencies [×Rev] Damping Participation 4. a part from the 4 per approach produces accurate results. and simplified invariant model (dotted line). Simulation model (solid line).0114 0.0291 0.0311 5.0308 0.0146 0. These multiple resocapture frequency and damping of the harmonic nances are in fact visible in the machine response. the more the simplified the blade root edge-wise bending moment as a function of rotor speed. in the time (top) and frequency tors as a function of rotor speed.1392 0.0473 0.0321 3. (bottom) domains. The dotted line refers to the output obtained with the simplified invariant approach.Normalized blade root bending moment edge−wise 1. identified periodic model (dashed line).0175 0.000 Figure 1: Normalized blade root bending moment.5 Virtual plant Identified model 1 −2 10 Virtual plant Identified model (LTP) Identified model (LTI) Normalized blade root bending moment edge−wise Figure 2 shows a zoom of the second edgewise mode of figure 1(b).15Ωr . but also with other frequencies with a single harmonic.0221 1.5 10 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Frequency [×Rev] 0 Figure 2: Normalized second blade edgewise mode. is in this case able to correctly lower participation factors.edge-wise mode with the highest participation and plified approaches. 5 and 6 per rev.0314 4. Figure 3 shows frequencies (scaled with the rev resonance. but neglects the presence of the multiple harmonics that completely characterize the mode response. with the highest participation. also the presence of other peaks at rated rotor speed). Notice. −0.5 0 50 100 150 200 Table 1: Stability analysis results for the first blade edgewise mode.not only between the frequency of the first blade wise modes. for both the fully periodic and the sim. Simulation model (solid line) and identified periodic model (dashed line). Clearly. damping and participation fac. The latter. participation factors for the first and second edge. The periodic Campbell diagram of figure 3(a) Table 1 and 2 report the frequency.

05 1. Voutsinas S.1839 0. 6× 7 LTP algorithm Frequencies [×Rev] Damping Participation 9.25 1.25 1.0764 1 edge−wise harmonic participation factor 11.6 0.2514 13. Advanced Sys. that eliminates the periodicity by dropping it from the state matrix and transferring the one of the input matrix into an equivalent periodic input. Sørensen JN. Once the model is identified.2112 0. but the simplified method neglects the presence of other harmonics that have smaller values of damping and can cause unexpected resonance conditions.1 1.3 1.0754 1st edge−wise frequency 5× 6 4× 5 3× 4 3 2× 2 1 1.2661 10.05 1.4 0. 0. ticity.2479 0.4173 0. Progress in Aerospace Sciences 2006. Examples have shown that both approaches.0344 0. which rigorous accounts for the periodic nature of the problem. the simplified and the periodic one.2554 12.8 Table 2: Stability analysis results for the second blade edgewise mode. damping (b) and [1] Bialasiewicz JT.1 1.06 Frequencies [×Rev] Damping Participation 5 Conclusions In this work we have presented a new method for the stability analysis of wind turbines. The results obtained with the proposed periodic approach have been compared with a simplified method.25 1.01 0 1 1.5 0. State of the art 42(4):285-330. in wind turbine aerodynamics and aeroelas[2] Hansen MOL.7 0.15 1.8 0. The proposed procedure is based on the identification of a linear time periodic system that best fits a transient response of the turbine.0796 0.2 r (c) Participation factors References Figure 3: Scaled frequencies (a).04 0.2602 11. . Madsen HAa.03 0.02 st 1. stability is assessed using the theory of periodic systems.2 1.000 0.0936 0.0860 0. tem Identification Techniques for Wind Turbine Structures. are able to capture the relevant behavior of the system.2 Ω/Ω 1.15 Ω/Ω 1. The proposed method is applicable to models of arbitrary complexity. 1995.15 Ω/Ω 1.05 1.participation factors (c) of the first edgewise mode. since it operates on the bases of input-output sequences.3 0. Sørensen N. NREL/TP-442-6930.3 r (b) Damping factors 0.1 1.3 r (a) Frequencies Simplified LTI algorithm 0.1137 0.05 0.1027 0.6198 1 edge−wise damping factor 0. Richard MO.2 st 0.1 0 1 1.

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