Noise reduction mechanisms of sawtooth and combed-sawtooth trailing-edge serrations

F. Avallone*, W. C.P. Van Der Velden, D. Ragni, D. Casalino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


Trailing-edge serrations are add ons retrofitted to wind-turbine blades to mitigate turbulent boundary-layer trailing-edge noise. This manuscript studies the physical mechanisms behind the noise reduction by investigating the far-field noise and the hydrodynamic flow field. A conventional sawtooth and a combed-sawtooth trailing-edge serration are studied. Combed-sawtooth serrations are obtained by filling the empty space between the teeth with combs (i.e. solid filaments). Both serration geometries are retrofitted to a NACA 0018 aerofoil at zero degree angle of attack. Computations are carried out by solving the explicit, transient, compressible lattice Boltzmann equation, while the acoustic far field is obtained by means of the Ffowcs Williams and Hawkings analogy. The numerical results are validated against experiments. It is confirmed that the combed-sawtooth serrations reduce noise more than the conventional sawtooth ones for the low- and mid-frequency range. It is found that the presence of combs affects the intensity of the scattered noise but not the frequency range of noise reduction. For both configurations, the intensity of the surface pressure fluctuations decreases from the root to the tip, and noise sources are mainly located at the serrations root for the low- and mid-frequency range. The presence of the filaments generates a more uniform distribution of the noise sources along the edges with respect to the conventional serration. The installation of combs mitigates the interaction between the two sides of the aerofoil at the trailing edge and the generation of a turbulent wake in the empty space between teeth. As a result, the inward (i.e. from the serration edge to the centreline) and outward (i.e. from the serration centreline to the edge) flow motions, due to the presence of the teeth, are mitigated. It is found that the installation of serrations affects the surface pressure fluctuations integral parameters. Both the spanwise correlation length and convective velocity of the surface pressure fluctuations increase with respect to the baseline straight configuration. When both quantities are similar to the one obtained for the straight trailing edge, the effect of the slanted edge is negligible, thus corresponding to no noise reduction. It is concluded that the changes in sound radiation are mainly caused by destructive interference of the radiated sound waves for which a larger spanwise correlation length is beneficial. Finally, the difference between measurements and the literature is caused by an incorrect modelling of the spanwise correlation length, which shows a different decay rate with respect to the one obtained for a straight trailing edge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-591
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2018


  • acoustics
  • aeroacoustics
  • hydrodynamic noise


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