Evaluation of fatigue crack propagation of gears considering uncertainties in loading and material properties

Haileyesus B. Endeshaw, Stephen Ekwaro-Osire, Fisseha M. Alemayehu, João Paulo Dias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Failure prediction of wind turbine gearboxes (WTGs) is especially important since the maintenance of these components is not only costly but also causes the longest downtime. One of the most common causes of the premature fault of WTGs is attributed to the fatigue fracture of gear teeth due to fluctuating and cyclic torque, resulting from stochastic wind loading, transmitted to the gearbox. Moreover, the fluctuation of the torque, as well as the inherent uncertainties of the material properties, results in uncertain life prediction for WTGs. It is therefore essential to quantify these uncertainties in the life estimation of gears. In this paper, a framework, constituted by a dynamic model of a one-stage gearbox, a finite element method, and a degradation model for the estimation of fatigue crack propagation in gear, is presented. Torque time history data of a wind turbine rotor was scaled and used to simulate the stochastic characteristic of the loading and uncertainties in the material constants of the degradation model were also quantified. It was demonstrated that uncertainty quantification of load and material constants provides a reasonable estimation of the distribution of the crack length in the gear tooth at any time step.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2200
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 29 2017


  • Crack propagation
  • Dynamic analysis
  • Fatigue
  • Finite element modeling
  • Gear
  • Uncertainty quantification
  • Wind turbine gearbox


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