The dynamic wake of an actuator disc undergoing transient load: A numerical and experimental study

W. Yu*, C. Ferreira, G. A.M. van Kuik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The currently most used theory for rotor aerodynamics — Blade Element Momentum is based on the assumption of stationary wake conditions. However, an unsteady rotor loading results in an unsteady wake flow field. This work aims to study the impact of an unsteady actuator disc on the wake flow field using a free wake vortex ring model. The numerical results are compared to a wind tunnel measurement, where the wake flow of an actuator disc model undergoing transient load was obtained. The numerical results complement the experimental work while providing information such as the vorticity field and contributions from different vortex elements. The velocity at different locations is compared between the experimental and numerical results. The observed velocity peaks in the experimental results are also observed in the numerical results. A steeper ramp time results in a steeper velocity transient slope, and in turn in a larger amplitude of peak values. It is revealed that the rolling-up processes is the main cause for the velocity difference at various locations and in the three cases by decomposing velocity induced by different vortex element.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1414
Number of pages13
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Actuator disc
  • Dynamic wake
  • Transient load
  • Vortex model

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