A numerical technique has been developed for efficiently simulating fully three-dimensional viscous fluid flow around horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT). In this approach, the viscous region surrounding the blades is modeled using 3-D unsteady Navier-Stokes equations. The inviscid region away from the boundary layer and the wake is modeled using potential flow. The concentrated vortices that emanate from the blade tip are treated as piecewise straight line segments that are allowed to deform and convect at the local flow velocity. Biot-Savart law is used to estimate the velocity field associated with these vortices. Calculations are presented under axial wind conditions for a NREL two-bladed rotor, known as the Phase VI rotor, tested at the NASA Ames Research Center. Good agreement with the measurements is found. The computed results are used to develop improved engineering models for the loss of lift at the blade tip, and for the delay in the stall angle at inboard locations. The improved models are incorporated in a blade element-momentum (BEM) analysis to study the post-stall behavior of a three-bladed rotor tested at NREL.

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