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CFD analysis of wind turbine blade tower interaction.

Each of the blades of a horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) passes the tower once per rotor revolution. This blade tower interaction (BTI) causes a disruption of the blade's aerodynamics resulting in power loss and vibrations. Wind turbine technology progress over the past several decades has led to the development of lighter, more flexible materials and significantly longer blades in the pursuit of higher efficiency. An understanding of the physics of the BTI will help in furthering this technology. Previous studies have focused mostly on downwind rotor HAWT whereas the upwind rotor HAWT is far more commonly used in service.

This study looks to investigate the upwind rotor BTI by performing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Phase VI test HAWT. Parametric studies of the effects of key design parameters--including wind velocity, blade pitch angle, and rotor rotational speed--are investigated and validated against experimental data These same parametric studies are then repeated using a tower-less wind turbine rotor, possible only in computer simulations. Differences in aerodynamic characteristics and trends between these two configurations are presented. Potential design improvements based on these results, as well as future work, are also discussed.

Sean Quallen, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Idaho

Tao Xing, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Idaho

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Author:Quallen, Sean; Xing, Tao
Publication:Journal of the Idaho Academy of Science
Article Type:Author abstract
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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