Linear stability analysis of wind turbine wakes performed on wind tunnel measurements
Wind tunnel measurements were performed for the wake produced by a three-bladed wind turbine immersed in uniform flow. These tests show the presence of a vorticity structure in the near-wake region mainly oriented along the streamwise direction, which is denoted as the hub vortex. The hub vortex is characterized by oscillations with frequencies lower than that connected to the rotational velocity of the rotor, which previous works have ascribed to wake meandering. This phenomenon consists of transversal oscillations of the wind turbine wake, which might be excited by the vortex shedding from the rotor disc acting as a bluff body. In this work, temporal and spatial linear stability analyses of a wind turbine wake are performed on a base flow obtained with time-averaged wind tunnel velocity measurements. This study shows that the low-frequency spectral component detected experimentally matches the most amplified frequency of the counter-winding single-helix mode downstream of the wind turbine. Then, simultaneous hot-wire measurements confirm the presence of a helicoidal unstable mode of the hub vortex with a streamwise wavenumber roughly equal to that predicted from the linear stability analysis.