The process of surface erosion due to particle collision has been the focus of a number of investigations with regards to gas turbine engines, aircraft, reentry missiles, pipelines carrying coal slurry, etc. Recently, increased interest in wind energy by countries in the Saharan regions of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) brings about some concern about leading edge erosion of wind turbines operating under such dusty conditions. Leading edge erosion can have a detrimental impact on the extracted energy as it changes the blade surface roughness causing premature/unpredictable separation. Though erosion may not be easily avoided; it may be mitigated via using airfoil families characterized by low roughness sensitivity. In this paper, a model of an airfoil erosion subjected to sand blasting is developed using the discrete phase modeling capability in ANSYS-FLUENT along with the DNV erosion model. The effect of various flow parameters, such as angle of attack, and particle size, on the extent of erosion is investigated for a number of airfoil designs. The developed model is used as a predictive tool to assess the power deterioration of eroded wind blades.

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