Fluid Structure Interaction Simulations of the NREL 5MW Wind Turbine - Part I: Aerodynamics and blockage effect

[+] Author and Article Information
Ehsan Borouji

School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, United Kingdom

Takafumi Nishino

School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, United Kingdom

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040980 History: Received August 09, 2017; Revised July 18, 2018


Fluid structure interaction (FSI) simulations of the NREL 5MW wind turbine are performed using a combination of two separate computational codes: ABAQUS for the finite element analysis of turbine structures and STAR-CCM+ for the unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) analysis of flow around the turbine. The main aim of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of using two-way coupled FSI simulations to predict the oscillation of the tower, as well as the rotor blades, of a full-scale wind turbine. Although the magnitude of the oscillation of the tower is much smaller than that of the blades, this oscillation is crucial for the assessment of the fatigue life of the tower. In this first part of the paper, the aerodynamic characteristics of the turbine predicted by the two-way coupled FSI simulations are discussed in comparison with those predicted by URANS simulations of a rigid turbine. Also, two different computational domains with a cross-sectional size of 2D by 2D and 4D by 4D (where D is the rotor diameter) are employed to investigate the blockage effect. The fatigue life assessment of the turbine is planned to be reported in the second part of the paper in the near future.

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