Abstract

This paper presents aerodynamic simulation and analysis of a horizontal axis wind turbine using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method. The MEXICO (Model Rotor Experiments In Controlled Conditions) Experiment wind turbine is selected for simulation as the experimental data are available and can be used for validation of the CFD model used. CFD method has been used by a number of studies to predict aerodynamic behaviour of wind turbines. However, the majority of studies consider a steady wind flow at the inlet. Sometimes this is not the case when the wind flow is not steady or there are other wind turbines nearby. In this paper, the steady simulations are first conducted using different turbulence models without considering inflow wake at the inlet. Afterwards, a harmonic wake is generated at the inlet and unsteady CFD simulation is performed. Unsteady CFD simulation usually requires long runtime and therefore harmonic (frequency domain) method, which is an efficient computational method to study unsteady periodic flow at a computational cost in the order of steady-state solutions, is used for unsteady computation in this study. This paper first discusses the pressure coefficient distributions with and without harmonic wake at the inlet and compares them against the experiment. Afterwards the detailed analysis of flow around the blade subject to the unsteady harmonic wake is conducted in the meridional view and the blade-to-blade view. Next, the effect of pressure distribution on the blade structure is briefly discussed. Finally this paper concludes based on the results from the aerodynamic analysis as well as the analysis of the effect of aerodynamic loads on the blade structure.

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