The stiffness of rolling bearings and their supporting structure in wind turbines is very low because of their large dimensions. Accurate predictions of the deformations of bearing elements and their flexible supports are difficult. In this paper, the finite element method (FEM) is employed to determine the mechanical behaviors of the large-scale bearings. Traction springs are used to model the contact between raceways and rolling elements. A pitch bearing supports the whole hub, the partial hub and the rigid outer ring under loads is studied. Results show that a comprehensive model representing the surrounding structure is necessary for an accurate assessment of the actual loading conditions of large-scale WTG pitch bearings. The load is shared well between the two bearing rows by appropriately decreasing the stiffness of the plane rib.

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