Hybrid design of boundary layers for WE applications

Abstract: Nowadays, representative wind tunnel profiles are still created by means of trial and error. This is extremely time-consuming, and does not allow much flexibility. In this study, we want to set up a more straightforward design methodology, by combining the most advanced experimental and numerical techniques.

Description: Wind tunnel testing is crucial for many wind engineering (WE) applications, like the design of the next generation wind turbines, the evaluation of pedestrian wind comfort and the aerodynamic testing of cars, sailing boats and high-speed trains. Testing is almost always performed on scaled models. The quality of the test results however largely depends on the way the real atmospheric boundary is scaled down to wind tunnel size. Not only the velocity profile needs to be carefully reproduced, but also the turbulent flow statistics. Designing a representative boundary layer in the wind tunnel is almost always done by means of trial-and-error. Therefore, standard “city” and “sea” profiles are often used in practise. These are not necessarily representative for the actual boundary layer found at the specific locations where e.g. a wind farm will be constructed.

The aim of this project is to provide a more scientific framework for designing wind tunnel boundary layers with desired flow characteristics. A hybrid approach will be adopted. By means of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), a roughness set consisting of spires and an array of roughness elements is designed. The performance of the roughness set is than validated in the wind tunnel by means of Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV). Differences between the numerically predicted and the experimentally measured flow allow to fine-tune the numerical model and to realize the desired profile.

Tasks: Literature survey; getting familiar with CFD and PIV; realizing a wind tunnel profile by means of measurements and simulations.

Type: Bachelor, Semester or Master thesis

Internal supervisor: Peter Moonen

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