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International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.

33 (2015)
Research India Publications; httpwww.ripublication.comijaer.htm

Pressure Characteristics of HAWT due to Aerodynamic

Tower - Blade Interference
N. I. Haroon Rashid 1, S. Nadaraja Pillai 2, S. Arunvinthan3, C. Senthil Kumar1

Department of Aerospace Engineering, MIT Campus, Anna University, Chennai

Department of Aeronautical Engineering, J.J.College of Engineering and Technology, Trichy


Abstract:Grid connected wind turbines often experiences fluctuating power sources. Such
fluctuations are due to wind speed variations, the wind shear and also the tower shadow. The
response of the Wind Turbine when the blades travel through the wake of its supporting tower is an
important consideration in the design of a Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT). This tower
induced flow Perturbation, has the cyclic effect of unloading a blade for the shorter period of time
with each rotor revolution. A periodic force of this nature has the capability of exciting vibratory
responses and exhibiting a fatigue effect on the long range operation of the Wind turbine. Various
researches reported that there is a damage of wind turbine tower during strong wind conditions. In
this paper, pressure characteristics of the wind turbine blade and tower are discussed. It is found
that there is a change is pressure distribution on the tower due to tower shadow. Also the effects of
the interference on the power performance of the wind turbine are discussed.
KEYWORDS: HAWT, Pressure Characteristics, Interference Effect

Energy shortage and environment pollution, therenewable energy, especially wind energy
has attracted moreattentions all over the world.Horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) is known
technology to harness electrical energy by converting kinetic energy of wind into mechanical and
then into electrical energy. It has been widely considered asone of the most rapidly increasing
resource among otherdistributed generation technologies [1]. By 2020, it isexpected that the total
wind power generation will supplyaround 12% of the total world electricity demands [2].World
wind energy (2012) reports [3] that, total wind energy capacity of the world reached 282.3 GW,
out of which 44.6 MW is added in the year 2012, and wind energy addition is growing
continuously in a rapid rate.There is a continuous decline of availability nonrenewable sources
such as coal on which world electrical power production rely on. But the demand for electrical
power increases very drastically. This leads to the utilization of renewable sources on a large
scale wind power among others. Percentage of electrical power generated or wind plants is
rapidly growing every year all over the world and thus the impact of such plants on the power
grid is becoming increasingly important. The connection of the wind turbines on the distribution
network may affect grid power quality. This is the reason why so much attention has recently
been paid to the issues associated with operation. One of the most important problems in the
construction of wind turbine is its tower itself.
There are various configurations of wind turbine have been built around the world,
tubular tower configuration is preferred over lattice towers. This is because the distance between
the rotor and tower is increased to reduce the aerodynamic interference [4]. Also the tubular
tower structures are designed as truncated cones with the change in diameter, which is increasing
towards the base in order to increase the strength and to decrease the materials involved. Tubular


International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.33 (2015)
Research India Publications; httpwww.ripublication.comijaer.htm

tower has high aspect ratio the makes it particularly more slender and wind sensitive that any
other structure. These structures resist the fluid movements in the upwind direction causes a flow
separation and unsteady vortex filled wake region behind the tower. This causes the turbine
blade to undergo a fluctuating wind load, which is dynamic and called tower shadow effect. This
causes quick changes of mechanical power called 3p-frequency in the case of 3 blade turbine,
contribute power loss, flicker effect, dynamic loading on the structures of wind turbine blades
exhibiting a Fatigue Effect on the Long range operation of the Wind Turbine [5].
Chattot [6] studied with vortex model for the simulation of the tower shadow and its
effect on the blade working conditions as analyzed with the blade root flap bending moment. The
importance of rotor in the upwind and downwind configurations and its importance is discussed
by chattot. Amada et al [7], showed the decrease in power output by around 6% due to the
various effect including tower shadow. Dolan and Lehn [8] discussed about the normalized
power output and its effect in terms of wind shear and the tower shadow effect. They found that
the tower shadow and wind shear combinely reduce 6% of the power output. In this research
wind turbine model has been made both computationally and experimentally in order to study the
interaction between tower and blade. Leishman [9] studied about the induced velocity field
produced by the vertical wake behind the turbine, the various unsteady aerodynamic issues
associated with the blade sections, and the intricacies of dynamic stall. Anemometer in the wind
turbine is kept in the nacelle part where the most of the blade rotation wake influences. Lubitz
studied about the tower shadow influence on the anemometer data. Various research has been
done in wind turbine and the component influence on aerodynamics of wind turbine, however
there are limited study carried out in the area of interference or the effect of rotor with various
parameters needs a extensive study. This paper discusses the pressure characteristics which will
show the clear picture of the interference.
The computational domains for the blade, hub, and tower are created and meshed. Mesh
is carefully checked so that there is no discrepancy which leads to the discontinuity. To generate
the volume mesh for the three bladed rotors, the 120 degrees periodicity of the rotor is exploited
by only meshing the volume around the blades. The computational domain created using
tetrahedral elements, extending in the axial direction roughly 4 diameters upstream and 8
diameters downstream of the turbine.
In the plane of the rotor, the domain diameter is 4 times that of the turbine. Second stage
involves creating the meshing element. One of the major difficulties in CFD modeling is to mesh
the flow domain near the rotor. The grid should be fine enough to capture the details of geometry
and flow field at these locations, but not too large to handle and then the succeeded meshing
models are exported for the analysis.
HAWT geometry with 108m tower height and 46m blade height has been created
computationally. The model is surrounded by the fluid elements of tetrahedral shape with more
than 1 million elements. The model rotor boundary condition is set as rotating reference frame in
order to create the required rpm. The rotor has been rotated to 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 rpm
corresponding to the wind speed. The computational turbulence model used is k , because it is
more general and predicts well in general. The model made computationally and the domain
created for flow analysis is shown in Figs. 1 & 2.


International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.33 (2015)
Research India Publications; httpwww.ripublication.comijaer.htm

Fig. 1 Wind turbine model and its dimensions considered for the present study.

Pressure Outlet

Turbine model

Fig. 2 Computational domain for the flow analysis (rotational boundary condition is given
for the rotor).
From the computational study the results for the coefficient of pressure has been obtained for the
various blade cross section at the locations 10, 20, 30m from the blade root shown in Fig. 4.
Fig.4 shows the velocity distribution on the rotor where at the root of the blade the velocity is
almost lower and it increases as increase in blade span. The pressure distribution for the aerofoil
on the pressure side and suction side are shown in the Fig 4. The suction side pressure is very
well constant and this could be due to the influence of tower. In the other case where the pressure
coefficient for various locations of the tower geometry from 10, 20, 30, 40, 70m has been
obtained and shown in Fig. 5. For 70m location there is no influence of the blade and tower
interaction, hence the pressure distribution looks like normal circular cylinder. For other cases


International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.33 (2015)
Research India Publications; httpwww.ripublication.comijaer.htm

like 10 to 40m tower height from the hub height, the influence is clearly shown. Here the
pressure difference created is small and also all are in the negative pressure region. Even though
the pressure difference causes a force but it is very small.

Fig. 3 Velocity distribution on the surface of the turbine rotor

10 m from blade root
20 m from blade root
30 m from blade root

Coefficienct of Pressure (Cp)







x/C of the Blade



Fig. 4 Coefficient of Pressure (Cp) at various cross section of the blade.

10 m from the hub height
20 m from the hub height
30 m from the hub height
40 m from the hub height
70 m from the hub height

Coefficient of Pressure (Cp)





x/C of the Tower (D)



Fig. 5 Coefficient of Pressure (Cp) at various cross section of the Turbine tower.


International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.33 (2015)
Research India Publications; httpwww.ripublication.comijaer.htm

The wind turbine model has been studied for the blade and tower interference using CFD.
Pressure characteristics of the tower and the blade are analyzed. It is concluded that there is a
change in pressure distribution on the tower where the blade is having interference. At the lower
height of the tower the pressure value is almost ideal condition of the circular cylinder. However
the increase in height shows clearly the aerodynamic interference.
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