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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


The largest commercial wind turbines today are rated at powers between 12 MW to 16 MW, with rotor diameters between 220 m to 242 m, which are expected to grow beyond 250 m in the near future. Economies-of-scale factors suggest the advantages of upscaling in rotor size to effectively harvest the wind potential. An increased emphasis on studies related to improvements and innovations in aerodynamic load-control methodologies has led researchers to focus on overcoming the bottlenecks in size upscaling. Though conventional pitch control is an effective approach for long-term load variations, their application to mitigate short-term fluctuations has limitations. This is directly associated with the cubical dependence on the weight of the rotor with increasing diameter. Alternatively, active flow-control devices (FCDs) have the potential to alleviate load fluctuations through rapid aerodynamic trimming. Fractional light-weight attachments such as trailing-edge flaps promise the swift response of such rapid fluctuations and require low power of actuation. The current study investigates the performance of active in dynamic load control for utility-scale wind turbines through an aeroelastic evaluation of the turbine response to control actions in short time-scales relevant to rapid load fluctuations. The numerical platform used in the analysis is designed to consider the complex multi-physics dynamics of the wind turbine through a self-adaptive Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE) algorithm that integrates the dynamics presented by control system in to the coupled response of aerodynamics and structural deformations of the rotor. The benchmark case in consideration is the use of fractional trailing-edge flaps used on blades designed for the NREL-5MW Reference Wind Turbine, originally designed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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