Experimental Study of a Reference Model Vertical-Axis Cross-Flow Turbine.

Academic Article


  • The mechanical power, total rotor drag, and near-wake velocity of a 1:6 scale model (1.075 m diameter) of the US Department of Energy's Reference Model vertical-axis cross-flow turbine were measured experimentally in a towing tank, to provide a comprehensive open dataset for validating numerical models. Performance was measured for a range of tip speed ratios and at multiple Reynolds numbers by varying the rotor's angular velocity and tow carriage speed, respectively. A peak power coefficient CP = 0.37 and rotor drag coefficient CD = 0.84 were observed at a tip speed ratio λ0 = 3.1. A regime of weak linear Re-dependence of the power coefficient was observed above a turbine diameter Reynolds number ReD ≈ 106. The effects of support strut drag on turbine performance were investigated by covering the rotor's NACA 0021 struts with cylinders. As expected, this modification drastically reduced the rotor power coefficient. Strut drag losses were also measured for the NACA 0021 and cylindrical configurations with the rotor blades removed. For λ = λ0, wake velocity was measured at 1 m (x/D = 0.93) downstream. Mean velocity, turbulence kinetic energy, and mean kinetic energy transport were compared with results from a high solidity turbine acquired with the same test apparatus. Like the high solidity case, mean vertical advection was calculated to be the largest contributor to near-wake recovery. However, overall, lower levels of streamwise wake recovery were calculated for the RM2 case-a consequence of both the relatively low solidity and tapered blades reducing blade tip vortex shedding-responsible for mean vertical advection-and lower levels of turbulence caused by higher operating tip speed ratio and therefore reduced dynamic stall. Datasets, code for processing and visualization, and a CAD model of the turbine have been made publicly available.
  • Authors

  • Bachant, Peter
  • Wosnik, Martin
  • Gunawan, Budi
  • Neary, Vincent S
  • Publication Date

  • 2016
  • Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • e0163799
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 9