Detailed analysis of the blade root flow of a horizontal axis wind turbine
The root flow of wind turbine blades is subjected to complex physical mechanisms that influence significantly the rotor aerodynamic performance. Spanwise flows, the Himmelskamp effect, and the formation of the root vortex are examples of interrelated aerodynamic phenomena that take place in the blade root region. In this study we address those phenomena by means of particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements and Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations. The numerical results obtained in this study are in very good agreement with the experiments and unveil the details of the intricate root flow. The Himmelskamp effect is shown to delay the stall onset and to enhance the lift force coefficient Cl even at moderate angles of attack. This improvement in the aerodynamic performance occurs in spite of the negative influence of the mentioned effect on the suction peak of the involved blade sections. The results also show that the vortex emanating from the spanwise position of maximum chord length rotates in the opposite direction to the root vortex, which affects the wake evolution. Furthermore, the aerodynamic losses in the root region are demonstrated to take place much more gradually than at the tip.