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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fluid-Structure Interaction Analysis of Wind Turbines

  • Author(s): Hsu, Ming-Chen
  • Advisor(s): Bazilevs, Yuri
  • et al.

Countries around the world are putting substantial effort into the development of wind energy technologies. The urgent need of renewable energy puts pressure on the wind energy industry research and development to enhance the current wind generation capabilities and decrease the associated costs. Currently most wind turbine aerodynamics and aeroelasticity simulations are performed using low-fidelity methods. These methods are simple to implement and fast to execute; however, the cases involving important features, such as unsteady flow, turbulence, and details of the wind turbine geometry, are beyond their range of applicability. In this dissertation, we introduce a paradigm shift in wind turbine analysis by developing 3D, complex geometry, time-dependent, multi-physics modeling procedures for wind turbine fluid-structure interaction (FSI).

The proposed framework consists of a collection of numerical methods combined into a single framework for FSI modeling and simulation of wind turbines at full scale. The use of the Navier-Stokes equations of incompressible flows for wind turbine aerodynamics is validated against experimental data. The structural modeling of the composite blades is based on the Kirchhoff-Love thin shell theory discretized using isogeometric analysis. The coupled FSI formulation is derived using the augmented Lagrangian approach and accommodates non-matching fluid-structure interface discretizations. The challenges of fluid-structural coupling and the handling of computational domains in relative motion are discussed, and the FSI computations of a 5 MW offshore baseline wind turbine are shown.

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