Vortex generators (VGs) are commonly used for trimming the aerodynamic and aeroelastic performance of wind turbine blades by delaying flow separation. There is therefore a need for the development of reliable, still computationally affordable, models for blade designers to use to predict and enhance the aerodynamic characteristics of airfoils equipped with VGs. Such a model is proposed in the present paper, addressing in particular near-stall and post-stall airfoil performance. Starting from the three-dimensional Navier–Stokes equations that essentially describe the complex flow around a blade/VG configuration, a spanwise averaging procedure is applied, resulting in an equivalent set of two-dimensional equations, enriched with extra source terms. These terms are modelled using elementary vortex flow theory. In turbulent flows, the production term of the turbulent kinetic energy is also augmented by the vorticity induced by the VG. The model is evaluated by studying the flow past a blade section with and without VGs. An analysis of the performance of nine alternative VG configurations is also presented to demonstrate the sensitivity of the airfoil polars to the VG geometric parameters.

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