The Actuator Surface Model: A New Navier-Stokes Based Model for Rotor Computations

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This paper presents a new numerical technique for simulating two-dimensional wind turbine flow. The method, denoted as the 2D actuator surface technique, consists of a two-dimensional Navier-Stokes solver in which the pressure distribution is represented by body forces that are distributed along the chord of the airfoils. The distribution of body force is determined from a set of predefined functions that depend on angle of attack and airfoil shape. The predefined functions are curve fitted using pressure distributions obtained either from viscous-inviscid interactive codes or from full Navier-Stokes simulations. The actuator surface technique is evaluated by computing the two-dimensional flow past a NACA 0015 airfoil at a Reynolds number of 10(6) and an angle of attack of 10 deg and by comparing the computed streamlines with the results from a traditional Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes computation. In the last part, the actuator surface technique is applied to compute the flow past a two-bladed vertical axis wind turbine equipped with NACA 0012 airfoils. Comparisons with experimental data show an encouraging performance of the method.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Solar Energy Engineering
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)011002
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

9 pp.


  • electric actuators
  • Navier-Stokes equations
  • wind turbines
  • flow

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