Experimental characterization of airfoil boundary layers for improvement of aeroacoustic and aerodynamic modeling

    Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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    Abstract

    The present work aims at the characterization of aerodynamic noise from wind
    turbines. There is a consensus among scientists that the dominant aerodynamic
    noise mechanism is turbulent boundary trailing edge noise. In almost all operational
    conditions the boundary layer flow over the wind turbine blades makes a
    transition from laminar to turbulent. In the turbulent boundary layer eddies are
    created which are a potential noise sources. They are ineffective as noise source
    on the airfoil surface or in free flow, but when convecting past the trailing edge
    of the airfoil their efficiency is much increased and audible sound is radiated.
    We performed measurements of the boundary layer velocity fluctuations and the
    fluctuating surface pressure field in two different wind tunnels and on three different
    airfoils. The first wind tunnel is the one of LM Wind Power A/S following
    the classic concept for aerodynamic wind tunnels with a hard wall test section.
    Acoustic far field sound measurements are not possible in this tunnel due to
    the high background noise. The second wind tunnel is owned by Virginia Tech
    University. The test section has Kevlar walls which are acoustically transparent
    and it is surrounded by an anechoic chamber. In this experiment the far field
    sound was measured with a microphone array placed in the anechoic chamber.
    The measurements were compared to predictions with an analytical model for
    trailing edge noise. The analytical model is divided into two steps. First the
    fluctuating velocity field is related to the fluctuating surface pressure field, then
    the far field trailing edge noise is related to the surface pressure field close to the
    trailing edge of the airfoil. The data base of measurements was used to evaluate
    the different parts of the original analytical trailing edge noise model and to
    improve it, because the predictions gave in general too low far field noise levels.
    Our main finding is that the acoustic formulations to relate the fluctuating surface
    pressure field close to the trailing edge of airfoil to the radiated far field
    sound give excellent results when compared to far field sound measurements
    with a microphone array and measured surface pressure statistics as input up
    to a frequency of about 2000-3000Hz. The fluctuating surface pressure field
    can be measured in a wind tunnel with high background noise due to the high
    level of the fluctuating surface pressure field. Hence, trailing edge noise can be
    evaluated by means of measured surface pressure field, even in cases where a
    direct measurement of trailing edge noise is not possible. This opens up great
    new vistas, i.e. by testing new airfoils in a standard industrial wind tunnel or
    by testing new wind turbine rotors in the field.
    The main difficulty for trailing edge noise modeling is to predict the fluctuating
    surface pressure field correctly and one uncertainty of the original model was the
    assumption of isotropic turbulence. This was investigated in the present work
    and a new model to relate the boundary layer velocity field to the surface pressure
    field accounting for an anisotropic turbulence spectrum was proposed. The
    results were very similar compared to the original model and underestimated
    the measured one point surface pressure spectrum, even though the prediction
    of the one point velocity spectra was improved.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherDTU Wind Energy
    Number of pages194
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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