In this paper, we present a novel sliding-mesh interface approach to the spectral difference (SD) method on coupled rotating and deforming/stationary domains. This approach is an extension of the previously reported method for coupled rotating and stationary domains for the flux reconstruction (FR) method [1]. The use of sliding-mesh interfaces not only allows us to study flows around freely rotating bodies but can also dramatically reduce grid twists on deforming domains with large-angle rotations. We test the accuracy of the solver on an inviscid flow, and it is found that the solver is high-order accurate on coupled dynamic grids with sliding-mesh interface. Simulation of viscous flow over a plunging and pitching airfoil is also carried out to verify the solver, it is seen that the solver is accurate and is very efficient in terms of computational cost. Finally, we apply the solver to study a two-dimensional vertical axis wind turbine at different Reynolds numbers. It is found that the turbine is efficient and extracts energy from the flows at high Reynolds numbers. This solver can also be applied to other problems, such as the aerodynamics of rotorcrafts, oscillating wing wind power generators.

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