Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

First Advisor

Fernando L. Ponta


The accuracy of simulating the aerodynamics and structural properties of the blades is crucial in the wind-turbine technology. Hence the models used to implement these features need to be very precise and their level of detailing needs to be high. With the variety of blade designs being developed the models should be versatile enough to adapt to the changes required by every design.

We are going to implement a combination of numerical models which are associated with the structural and the aerodynamic part of the simulation using the computational power of a parallel HPC cluster. The structural part models the heterogeneous internal structure of the beam based on a novel implementation of the Generalized Timoshenko Beam Model Technique.. Using this technique the 3-D structure of the blade is reduced into a 1-D beam which is asymptotically equivalent. This reduces the computational cost of the model without compromising its accuracy. This structural model interacts with the Flow model which is a modified version of the Blade Element Momentum Theory. The modified version of the BEM accounts for the large deflections of the blade and also considers the pre-defined structure of the blade. The coning, sweeping of the blade, tilt of the nacelle and the twist of the sections along the blade length are all computed by the model which aren’t considered in the classical BEM theory. Each of these two models provides feedback to the other and the interactive computations lead to more accurate outputs.

We successfully implemented the computational models to analyze and simulate the structural and aerodynamic aspects of the blades. The interactive nature of these models and their ability to recompute data using the feedback from each other makes this code more efficient than the commercial codes available. In this thesis we start off with the verification of these models by testing it on the well-known benchmark blade for the NREL-5MW Reference Wind Turbine, an alternative fixed-speed stall-controlled blade design proposed by Delft University, and a novel alternative design that we proposed for a variable-speed stall-controlled turbine, which offers the potential for more uniform power control and improved annual energy production.. To optimize the power output of the stall-controlled blade we modify the existing designs and study their behavior using the aforementioned aero elastic model.

Available for download on Saturday, January 01, 800