Compressible Navier-Stokes analysis of floating wind turbine rotor aerodynamics

M. Sergio Campobasso, Andrea G. Sanvito, Jernej Drofelnik, Adrian Jackson, Yang Zhou, Qing Xiao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

1 Citation (Scopus)


The unsteady aerodynamics of floating offshore wind turbine rotors is more complex than that of fixed-bottom turbine rotors, due to additional rigid-body motion components enabled by the lack of rigid foundations; it is still unclear if low-fidelity aerodynamic models, such as the blade element momentum theory, provide sufficiently reliable input for floating turbine design requiring load data for a wide range of operating conditions. High-fidelity Navies-Stokes CFD has the potential to improve the understanding of FOWT rotor aerodynamics, and support the improvement of lower-fidelity aerodynamic analysis models. To accomplish these aims, this study uses an in-house compressible Navier-Stokes code and the NREL FAST engineering code to analyze the unsteady flow regime of the NREL 5 MW rotor pitching with amplitude of 4° and frequency of 0.2 Hz, and compares all results to those obtained with a commercial incompressible code and FAST in a previous independent study. The level of agreement of CFD and engineering analyses in each of these two studies is found to be quantitatively similar, but the peak rotor power of the compressible flow analysis is about 20 % higher than that of the incompressible analysis. This is possibly due to compressibility effects, as the instantaneous local Mach number is found to be higher than 0.4. Validation of the compressible flow analysis set-up, using an absolute frame formulation and low-speed preconditioning, is based on the analysis of the steady and yawed flow past the NREL Phase VI rotor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ASME 2018 1st International Offshore Wind Technical Conference
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2018
EventASME 2018 1st International Offshore Wind Technical Conference - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 4 Nov 20187 Nov 2018


ConferenceASME 2018 1st International Offshore Wind Technical Conference
Abbreviated titleIOWTC2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • aerodynamics
  • floating wind turbines
  • rotors
  • Navier-Stokes Analysis
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • compressible flow
  • turbines
  • blades


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