Computational studies of the horizontal axis wind turbines in high wind speed condition using advanced turbulence models

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Benjanirat, Sarun
Sankar, Lakshmi N.
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Next generation horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) will operate at very high wind speeds. Existing engineering approaches for modeling the flow phenomena are based on blade element theory, and cannot adequately account for 3-D separated, unsteady flow effects. Therefore, researchers around the world are beginning to model these flows using first principles-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approaches. In this study, an existing first principles-based Navier-Stokes approach is being enhanced to model HAWTs at high wind speeds. The enhancements include improved grid topology, implicit time-marching algorithms, and advanced turbulence models. The advanced turbulence models include the Spalart-Allmaras one-equation model, k-epsilon, k-omega and Shear Stress Transport (k-omega-SST) models. These models are also integrated with detached eddy simulation (DES) models. Results are presented for a range of wind speeds, for a configuration termed National Renewable Energy Laboratory Phase VI rotor, tested at NASA Ames Research Center. Grid sensitivity studies are also presented. Additionally, effects of existing transition models on the predictions are assessed. Data presented include power/torque production, radial distribution of normal and tangential pressure forces, root bending moments, and surface pressure fields. Good agreement was obtained between the predictions and experiments for most of the conditions, particularly with the Spalart-Allmaras-DES model.
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