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Mutual inductance instability of the tip vortices behind a wind turbine
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2014 (English)In: Journal of Fluid Mechanics, ISSN 0022-1120, E-ISSN 1469-7645, Vol. 755, 705-731 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two modal decomposition techniques are employed to analyse the stability of wind turbine wakes. A numerical study on a single wind turbine wake is carried out focusing on the instability onset of the trailing tip vortices shed from the turbine blades. The numerical model is based on large-eddy simulations (LES) of the Navier-Stokes equations using the actuator line (ACL) method to simulate the wake behind the Tj ae reborg wind turbine. The wake is perturbed by low-amplitude excitation sources located in the neighbourhood of the tip spirals. The amplification of the waves travelling along the spiral triggers instabilities, leading to breakdown of the wake. Based on the grid configurations and the type of excitations, two basic flow cases, symmetric and asymmetric, are identified. In the symmetric setup, we impose a 120 degrees symmetry condition in the dynamics of the flow and in the asymmetric setup we calculate the full 360 degrees wake. Different cases are subsequently analysed using dynamic mode decomposition (DMD) and proper orthogonal decomposition (POD). The results reveal that the main instability mechanism is dispersive and that the modal growth in the symmetric setup arises only for some specific frequencies and spatial structures, e.g. two dominant groups of modes with positive growth (spatial structures) are identified, while breaking the symmetry reveals that almost all the modes have positive growth rate. In both setups, the most unstable modes have a non-dimensional spatial growth rate close to pi/2 and they are characterized by an out-of-phase displacement of successive helix turns leading to local vortex pairing. The present results indicate that the asymmetric case is crucial to study, as the stability characteristics of the flow change significantly compared to the symmetric configurations. Based on the constant non-dimensional growth rate of disturbances, we derive a new analytical relationship between the length of the wake up to the turbulent breakdown and the operating conditions of a wind turbine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 755, 705-731 p.
Keyword [en]
instability, vortex interaction, wakes
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232995DOI: 10.1017/jfm.2014.326ISI: 000341128600036OAI: diva2:754982
Available from: 2014-10-13 Created: 2014-09-29 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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Ivanell, Stefan
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Department of Earth Sciences
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