A horizontal axis wind turbine with a ball-and-socket hub is disclosed. The hub enables horizontal axis turbines with two or more blades to teeter in response to wind shear gradients. Computer modeling was done using existing and modified fast code in order to compare the new hub design with existing designs. Results show that a three-bladed turbine with the ball-and-socket hub provides very significant reductions in out-of-plane bending loads applied to the main shaft in comparison to a three-bladed turbine with a rigid hub. Results also show that the new hub design provides significant reductions in the out-of-plane loads applied to the blades. A blade fatigue study using a rainflow counting of multi-axial torque contributions at the blade root was performed in order to assess the impact of these reductions, and results show that the three-bladed turbine equipped with a ball-and-socket, teetering hub provides for very significant reductions in lifetime blade damage in comparison to existing wind turbine designs due to a combination of factors. The first factor is that teetering largely eliminates the cyclic variations in out-of-plane torque on the blades that are observed with rigid hubs. Here, the fatigue study shows that the three-bladed wind turbine with a teetering hub provides for an approximate sixfold reduction in lifetime blade damage in comparison to a three-bladed turbine with a rigid hub. The second factor is that the addition of a third blade reduces the load on each blade by one-third. Here, the fatigue study shows that a three-bladed turbine with a teetering hub provides for an approximate fourfold reduction in lifetime blade damage in comparison to a two-bladed turbine with a teetering hub.

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