Predicting wind turbine blade loads using vorticity transport and RANS methodologies

Timothy M. Fletcher, Richard Brown, Da Hye Kim, Oh Joon Kwon

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Two computational methods, one based on the solution of the vorticity transport equation, and a second based on the solution of the Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equations, have been used to simulate the aerodynamic performance of a horizontal axis wind turbine. Comparisons have been made against data obtained during Phase VI of the NREL Unsteady Aerodynamics Experimental and against existing numerical data for a range of wind conditions. The Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes method demonstrates the potential to predict accurately the flow around the blades and the distribution of aerodynamic loads developed on them. The Vorticity Transport Model possesses a considerable advantage in those situtations where the accurate, but computationally efficient, modelling of the structure of the wake and the associated induced velocity is critical, but where the prediction of blade loads can be achieved with sufficient accuracy using a lifting-line model augmented by incorporating a semi-empirical stall delay model. The largest benefits can be extracted when the two methods are used to complement each other in order to understand better the physical mechanisms governing the aerodynamic performance of wind turbines.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2009
EventEuropean Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition, EWEC 2009 - Marseilles, France
Duration: 16 Mar 200919 Mar 2009


ConferenceEuropean Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition, EWEC 2009
CityMarseilles, France


  • vorticity transport equation
  • wind turbine blade loads
  • RANS
  • aerodynamic performance


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