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Bubble Induced Unsteadiness on Wind Turbine Airfoils

[+] Author Affiliations
E. A. Mayda, C. P. van Dam

University of California at Davis, Davis, CA

Earl P. N. Duque

Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ

Paper No. WIND2002-33, pp. 115-125; 11 pages
  • ASME 2002 Wind Energy Symposium
  • ASME 2002 Wind Energy Symposium
  • Reno, Nevada, USA, January 14–17, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 1-56347-476-X
  • Copyright © 2002 by Mayda, van Dam, Duque, and ASME


The effect of laminar separation bubbles on the surface pressure distribution and aerodynamic force characteristics of two quite different airfoils is studied numerically. The low-Reynolds-number Eppler E387 airfoil is analyzed at a chord Reynolds number of 1.0×105 whereas the NREL S809 airfoil for horizontal-axis wind turbines is analyzed at 1.0×106 . For all cases in the present study, bubble induced vortex shedding is observed. This flow phenomenon causes significant oscillations in the airfoil surface pressures and, hence, airfoil generated aerodynamic forces. The computed time-averaged pressures compare favorably with wind-tunnel measurements for both airfoils.

Copyright © 2002 by Mayda, van Dam, Duque, and ASME



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