Experimental study of the effect of a slat on the aerodynamic performance of a thick base airfoil

A.C. Viré*, B.P. LeBlanc, J. Steiner, W.A. Timmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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There is continuous effort to try and improve the aerodynamic performance of wind turbine blades. This experimental study focusses on the addition of a passive slat on a thick airfoil typically used in the inboard part of commercial wind turbine blades. Nine different slat configurations are considered, with both a clean and tripped main airfoil. The results are compared with the performance of the airfoil without slat, as well as the airfoil equipped with vortex generators. It is found that, when the airfoil is clean, the increase in lift-to-drag ratio due to the presence of a slat is larger than when vortex generators are used. This is also true for the tripped airfoil but only at small angles of attack. As expected, in all configurations, the presence of the slat delays flow separation and stall. Finally, for a clean airfoil and small angles of attack, the slat decreases the lift-to-drag ratio of the main airfoil only. By contrast, as the angle of attack increases, it seems that the slat changes the flow field around the main airfoil in such a way that its lift-to-drag ratio becomes larger than for the airfoil without slat. These effects are less pronounced when the airfoil is tripped. This work helps to better understand the role of a slat in improving the aerodynamics of blade sections. It can also be used to validate simulation tools in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-584
Number of pages12
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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