Numerical analysis on the use of multi-element blades in a horizontal-axis hydrokinetic turbine
The blades of a hydrokinetic turbine have a great impact on its performance due to they are the elements responsible for capturing the kinetic energy from water and transform it into rotational mechanical energy. In this work, numerical analyses on the performance of a multi-element blade section were developed. The lift and drag coefficients (CL and CD, respectively) of the hydrofoils with traditional and multi-element configurations were studied. For this purpose, 2D numerical analyses were conducted by using JavaFoil code. S805, S822, Eppler 420, Eppler 421, Eppler 422, Eppler 423, Eppler 857, Wortmann FX 74-CL5-140, Wortmann FX 74-CL5-140 MOD, Douglas/Liebeck LA203A, Selig S1210, Selig S1223 and UI-1720 profiles were tested. The results indicated that the Eppler 420 multi-element hydrofoil provided high efficiency to the turbine. This was attributed to its higher relationship between the maximum CL and CD (CLmax /CD), which was equal to 47.77, compared to that of the Selig S1223 profile (39.59) and other hydrofoils studied. Therefore, the final optimized blade section selected was an Eppler 420 multi-element hydrofoil with a flap chord length of 70% of that of the main profile. The hydrodynamic and structural designs of the optimized blade section were validated with detailed 3D numerical models, through ANSYs Fluent software. The fluid and structural domains were connected using one-way coupling. The influence of the blade geometry and the operational parameters on the stresses supported by the blades were found by analyzing the fluid-structure interaction. From the numerical analyses conducted, it was observed that the blades did not exhibit structural fails. In this regard, the multi-element hydrofoil might be used for the design of a horizontal-axis hydrokinetic turbine with a high efficiency.
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