An experimental study was conducted to characterize the dynamic wind loads and evolution of the unsteady vortex and turbulent flow structures in the near wake of a horizontal axis wind turbine model placed in an atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel. In addition to measuring dynamic wind loads (i.e., aerodynamic forces and bending moments) acting on the wind turbine model by using a high-sensitive force-moment sensor unit, a high-resolution digital particle image velocimetry (PIV) system was used to achieve flow field measurements to quantify the characteristics of the turbulent vortex flow in the near wake of the wind turbine model. Besides conducting “free-run” PIV measurements to determine the ensemble-averaged statistics of the flow quantities such as mean velocity, Reynolds stress, and turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) distributions in the wake flow, “phase-locked” PIV measurements were also performed to elucidate further details about evolution of the unsteady vortex structures in the wake flow in relation to the position of the rotating turbine blades. The effects of the tip-speed-ratio of the wind turbine model on the dynamic wind loads and wake flow characteristics were quantified in the terms of the variations of the aerodynamic thrust and bending moment coefficients of the wind turbine model, the evolution of the helical tip vortices and the unsteady vortices shedding from the blade roots and turbine nacelle, the deceleration of the incoming airflows after passing the rotation disk of the turbine blades, the TKE and Reynolds stress distributions in the near wake of the wind turbine model. The detailed flow field measurements were correlated with the dynamic wind load measurements to elucidate underlying physics in order to gain further insight into the characteristics of the dynamic wind loads and turbulent vortex flows in the wakes of wind turbines for the optimal design of the wind turbines operating in atmospheric boundary layer winds.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 30, 2011
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