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Parametric Investigation of Gurney Flaps for the Use on Wind Turbine Blades

[+] Author Affiliations
Joerg Alber, Georgios Pechlivanoglou, Christian Oliver Paschereit

Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Jochen Twele

University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Guido Weinzierl

SMART BLADE GmbH, Berlin, Germany

Paper No. GT2017-64475, pp. V009T49A015; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2017: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Oil and Gas Applications; Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles; Wind Energy
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, June 26–30, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5096-1
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


This paper presents a strategy to model the aerodynamic Gurney flap effect on two-dimensional airfoils and subsequently on the rotor blade performance of horizontal axis wind turbines.

The first part consists of the parametric investigation of 26 airfoil polar data-sets, derived from different, but comparable, wind tunnel experiments. They are evaluated and processed in terms of the lift and drag increase caused by Gurney flaps in comparison to each Baseline configuration. Consequently, a model is developed, transforming Baseline- into Gurney flap polar data for varying flap-heights. The results of the emerging Gurney Flap Polar Calculator are validated against the experimental lift and drag curves.

In the second part, the blade design of the NREL 5 MW Reference Turbine is modified by implementing polar data-sets of varying Gurney flap-heights, which are imported into the rotor simulation software QBlade. Thereupon, blade optimization strategies are examined regarding the two main Gurney flap applications on rotor blades: the retrofit and the design solution. The optimized retrofit solution on existing blades indicates power performance improvements, albeit at the expense of increasing structural loads. The optimized design solution on to-be-constructed blades, on the other hand, suggests chord-length reductions, while keeping the performance characteristics on a similar or even enhanced level.

It is concluded that aerodynamic improvements are achieved by relatively small Gurney flap-heights, which are applied at specific blade positions.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Blades , Wind turbines



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