Simulation of wind turbine wake interaction using the vorticity transport model

Timothy M. Fletcher, Richard Brown

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The aerodynamic interactions that can occur within a wind farm can result in the constituent turbines generating a lower power output than would be possible if each of the turbines were operated in isolation. Tightening of the constraints on the siting of wind farms is likely to increase the scale of the problem in the future. The aerodynamic performance of turbine rotors and the mechanisms
that couple the fluid dynamics of multiple rotors can be most readily understood by simplifying the problem and considering the interaction between only two rotors. The aerodynamic interaction between two rotors in both co-axial and offset configurations has been simulated using the Vorticity Transport Model. The aerodynamic interaction is a function of the tip speed ratio, and both the streamwise and crosswind separation between the rotors. The simulations show that the momentum deficit at a turbine operating within the wake developed by the rotor of a second turbine is governed by the development of instabilities within the wake of the upwind rotor, and the ensuing structure of the wake as it impinges on the downwind rotor. If the wind farm configuration or wind conditions are such that a turbine rotor is subject to partial impingement by the wake produced by an upstream turbine, then significant unsteadiness in the aerodynamic loading on the rotor blades of the downwind turbine can result, and this unsteadiness can have considerable implications for the fatigue life of the blade structure and rotor hub.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-602
Number of pages15
JournalWind Energy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • wake instability
  • interaction
  • wind turbine
  • VTM

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