Vortex generators (VGs) are used increasingly by the wind turbine industry as flow control devices to improve rotor bladeperformance. According to experimental observations, the vortices generated by VGs have previously been observed to beself-similar for both the axial (uz) and azimuthal (u ) velocity components. Furthermore, the measured vortices have beenobserved to obey the criteria for helical symmetry. These are powerful results, as it reduces the highly complex 3-D flow tomerely four parameters and therefore significantly facilitates the modeling of this type of flow, which in a larger perspectivecan assist in parametric studies to increase the total power output of wind turbines. In this study, corresponding computer simulations using Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations have been carried out and compared with the experimentalobservations. The main objective is to investigate how well the simulations can reproduce these aspects of the physics ofthe flow, i.e., investigate if the same analytical model can be applied and therefore significantly facilitate the modelingof this type of flow, which in a larger perspective can assist in parametric studies to increase the total power output ofwind turbines. This is especially interesting since these types of flows are notoriously difficult for the turbulence models topredict correctly. Using this model, parametric studies can be significantly reduced, and moreover, reliable simulations cansubstantially reduce the costs of the parametric studies themselves. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.