A Wells turbine for wave power conversion has hysteretic characteristics in a reciprocating flow. The hysteretic loop is opposite to the well-known dynamic stall of an airfoil. In this paper, the mechanism of the hysteretic behavior was elucidated by an unsteady 3-dimensional Navier-Stokes numerical simulation. It was found that the hysteretic behavior was associated with a streamwise vortical flow appearing near the blade suction surface. In the accelerating process of axial flow velocity, the vortex is intensified to enlarge the flow separation area on the blade suction surface. In the decelerating flow process, the flow separation area is reduced because of the weakened vortex. Therefore, the aerodynamic performance in the accelerating flow process is lower than in the decelerating flow process, unlike the dynamic stall. Based on the vortex theorem, the mechanism to vary the intensity of the vortex can be explained by the trailing vortices associated with change in the blade circulation.

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