Date of Award

9-2011

Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

John Ridgely

Abstract

Wind Energy is a fast growing industry. However, wind turbines are expensive to build, so they need proper maintenance to prolong service life. Since blades are the most important components in the wind turbine, this project prototyped a low cost sensing system to monitor blades' health. The sensor board uses Atmel microcontrollers to monitor the blade's vibration frequency by sampling a data set of 128 acceleration measurements. An integer version of Fast Fourier Transform is used to process those data. The result is then sent via radio wirelessly to a receiver for future processing. Through calculation with collected data, theoretically, the system can run for 30+ years with lithium batteries if the accelerometer on the microcontroller board is replaced. The system has been tested on a vibration shaker, and it is also tested in single disturbance with wood and aluminum beam.

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