Experimental and numerical investigations of aerodynamic loads and 3D flow over non-rotating MEXICO blades

Ye Zhang, Thijs Gillebaart, Alexander van Zuijlen, Gerard van Bussel, Hester Bijl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper presents the experimental and numerical study on MEXICO wind turbine blades. Previous work by other researchers shows that large deviations exist in the loads comparison between numerical predictions and experimental data for the rotating MEXICO wind turbine. To reduce complexities and uncertainties, a non-rotating experimental campaign has been carried out on MEXICO blades Delft University of Technology. In this new measurement, quasi-2D aerodynamic characteristics of MEXICO blades on three spanwise sections are measured at different inflow velocities and angles of attack. Additionally, RANS simulations are performed with OpenFOAM-2.1.1 to compare numerical results against measured data. The comparison and analysis of aerodynamic loads on the blade, where three different airfoil families and geometrical transition regions are used, show that for attached flow condition, RANS computation predicts excellent pressure distribution on the NACA airfoil section (r=R D 0.92) and good agreement is observed on the DU (r=R D 0.35) and RISØ (r=R D 0.60) airfoil sections. Unexpected aerodynamic characteristics are observed at the intermediate transition regions connecting the RISØ and DU airfoils, where sudden lift force drop is found at the radial position r=R D 0.55. Through numerical flow visualization, large-scale vortical structures are observed on the suction side of the blade near the mid-span. Moreover, counter-rotating vortices are generated behind the blade at locations where unexpected loads occurs. Consequently, the RISØ airfoil could not give expected 2D aerodynamic characteristics because of upwash/downwash effects induced by these counter-rotating vortices, which make 3D effects play an important role in numerical modeling when calculating the aerodynamic loads for MEXICO rotor.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • 3D effects
  • aerodynamic loads
  • non-rotating blades
  • MEXICO wind turbine
  • OpenFOAM

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