Journal article

A New Miniature Wind Turbine for Wind Tunnel Experiments. Part II: Wake Structure and Flow Dynamics

An optimized three-bladed horizontal-axis miniature wind turbine, called WiRE-01, with the rotor diameter of 15 cm is designed and fully characterized in Part I of this study. In the current part of the study, we investigate the interaction of the turbine with a turbulent boundary layer. The comparison of the spectral density of the thrust force and the one of the incoming velocity revealed new insights on the use of turbine characteristics to estimate incoming flow conditions. High-resolution stereoscopic particle image-velocimetry (S-PIV) measurements were also performed in the wake of the turbine operating at optimal conditions. Detailed information on the velocity and turbulence structure of the turbine wake is presented and discussed, which can serve as a complete dataset for the validation of numerical models. The PIV data are also used to better understand the underlying mechanisms leading to unsteady loads on a downstream turbine at different streamwise and spanwise positions. To achieve this goal, a new method is developed to quantify and compare the effect of both turbulence and mean shear on the moment of the incoming momentum flux for a hypothetical turbine placed downstream. The results show that moment fluctuations caused by turbulence are bigger under full-wake conditions, whereas those caused by mean shear are clearly dominant under partial-wake conditions. Especial emphasis is also placed on how the mean wake flow distribution is affected by wake meandering. Conditional averaging based on the instantaneous position of the wake center revealed that when the wake meanders laterally to one side, a high-speed region exists on the opposite side. The results show that, due to this high-speed region, large lateral meandering motions do not lead to the expansion of the mean wake cross-section in the lateral direction.


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