DTU 10MW Wind Turbine
Contents
6.9. DTU 10MW Wind Turbine#
6.9.1. Introduction#
The purpose of this case study is to validate and demonstrate the application of Flow360 to wind turbine simulations. A common research wind turbine model, the DTU 10MW Reference Wind Turbine (RWT), was selected and unsteady compressible DDES simulations performed with the SpalartAllmaras (SA) turbulence model. Flow conditions were simulated at the rated wind speed of 11m/s, which relate to the rated power output of 10MW. Offdesign conditions with different wind speeds were also simulated.
6.9.2. Rotor Geometry#
The wind turbine blade geometry was reproduced programmatically using 200 spanwise crosssections along the blade and airfoil profiles extracted from the original source geometry (see Fig. 6.9.1). The fine resolution blade geometry from the GitLab repository of DTU 10MW RWT was used.
The original blade geometry used is rigid with no aeroelastic deformations. Slight modifications were made at the blade tip to help improve unstructured mesh quality. Moreover, an elliptic fairing was added to reduce the downstream separation region around the blade roots. Fig. 6.9.2 displays an overlay of the geometry created here and the original. The current CAD model is an EGADS format and is available here.
6.9.3. Automated Meshing#
A series of computational grids, with consecutively refined mesh resolution, were created with our automated meshing process. The corresponding key meshing parameters are summarized in Table 6.9.1. The volume mesh was consistently refined by a factor of \(2\). Additionally, the edge lengths orthogonal to curves, such as the leading edge (LE), the trailing edge (TE) and the blade tip, were refined by a factor of \(2^{1/3}\). A refinement factor of \(2^{2/3}\) was also applied to the max cell edge length on the blade and the tip faces. Notably, the target 1st layer thicknesses were kept as 1E06 meters, but are influenced by the volumetric refinement factor. The 1st layer thickness values applied were meant to ensure \(y^+ < 1\) in all the cases. The farfield was automatically set to be about 7700 meters away from the rotor center.
Parameters 
Units 
Coarse 
Medium 
Fine 

Volume Mesh 

Refinement Factor 
— 
1/2 
1 
2 
1st Layer Thickness 
m 
1E06 
1E06 
1E06 
Growth Rate 
— 
1.2 
1.2 
1.2 
Surface Mesh 

Edge Length (LE) 
deg 
0.126 
0.100 
0.079 
Edge Length (TE) 
m 
0.004 
0.003 
0.002 
Edge Length (Tip) 
m 
0.063 
0.050 
0.040 
Max Cell Edge Length (Blade) 
m 
0.317 
0.200 
0.126 
Max Cell Edge Length (Tip) 
m 
0.159 
0.100 
0.063 
Growth Rate 
— 
1.2 
1.2 
1.2 
Mesh Statistics 

Total Nodes 
million 
22 
35 
65 
Total Cells 
million 
59 
93 
173 
The medium mesh resolution is visualized in Fig. 6.9.3. The upper two frames display the rotor nearfield and a zoomedin view, respectively. As seen in the upper left figure, a rotating mesh region surrounding the rotor was used with sliding interfaces and a maximum element edge length of 1 meter applied. To better resolve the downstream progression of tip vortices, an additional volumetric refinement region was introduced with a 2 meter cell spacing. The front and rear views of the surface mesh are shown in the lower left and lower right frames, respectively. Refinement of the surface mesh can be seen along the LE and TE, as well as at the blade root and tip.
The configuration json files are available through these links for the aforementioned surface (Coarse, Medium and Fine) and volume (Coarse, Medium and Fine) meshes, respectively.
6.9.4. Flow Configuration#
The wind turbine operation was first simulated at the rated power condition, utilizing the three computational grids discussed above. Key flow configuration parameters are summarized in Table 6.9.2. Importantly, to extract power from the air, the rotor is designed for incoming wind to impinge on the pressure side of the turbine blades, so that the circumferential component of the aerodynamic lift drives the turbine rotation in the positive zdirection (righthand rule). This is equivalent to setting the angle of attack, \(\alpha = +90\) °, in accordance with Flow360’s conventions. Additional details for solver settings are given in the NavierStokes and turbulence model sections.
Parameters 
Units 
Values 
Notes 

Geometry 

\(L_{gridUnit}\) 
\(m\) 
1 

\(A_{ref}\) 
\(m^2\) 
24977.47 
\(\pi R_{tip}^2\) 
\(L_{ref}\) 
\(m\) 
89.166 
\(R_{tip}\) 
Free Stream 

\(T_{\infty}\) 
\(K\) 
288.15 

\(\rho_{\infty}\) 
\(kg/m^3\) 
1.225 

\(M_{\infty}\) 
— 
0.032325 
\(U_{\infty}=11 m/s\) 
\(M_{ref}\) 
— 
0.242454 
\(U_{ref}=\omega R_{tip}\) 
\(N\) 
rpm 
8.836 
rotating speed 
\(\alpha\) 
deg 
+90 

\(\beta\) 
deg 
0 
Unsteady DDES simulations were carried out through three consecutive stages. To initialize the flow field, the turbine operation was started with a physical time step size equivalent to rotating through \(6\) ° for three revolutions, utilizing 1storder spatial schemes for both NavierStokes and turbulence model equations. This was followed by twelve revolutions with 2ndorder schemes through the second stage to further develop the flow. Finally, for timeaccurate solutions, the physical time step size was reduced to \(3\) °, \(2\) ° and \(1\) ° per time step, according to the three grid levels, and simulations were carried on for another three revolutions. The solver configuration json files are available here (Stage1, Stage2, and Stage3 with 3DegPerStep, 2DegPerStep and 1DegPerStep). More details about time integration settings are given in the section for time stepping. The corresponding temporal evolutions of CFL numbers, nonlinear residuals, force and moment coefficients are shown in the next section for the case with the medium grid.
6.9.5. Residual Convergence#
Within each physical time step, the CFL number is ramped up from 10 to 200 in 10 pseudo steps. The maximum number of pseudo steps within each physical time step is conservatively set to 100 to allow all nonlinear residuals to decrease by at least two orders of magnitude. Convergence of nonlinear residuals is shown in Fig. 6.9.4. For clarity, only continuity is displayed.
The temporal evolutions of force and moment coefficients are shown in Fig. 6.9.5 and Fig. 6.9.6. As seen, the aerodynamic loads seemed to be stabilized, with minor blade passing oscillations.
6.9.6. Surface and Volumetric Results#
Numerical results computed on the mesh of the medium resolution are examined in this section. Surface distributions of \(y^{+}\), \(C_{p}\) and \(C_{f}\), are displayed on one of the three blades, respectively. The elliptic fairing is contoured by \(C_{p}\). As seen, all values of \(y^{+}\) were less than \(1\). Also, as expected, the major fraction of power output was generated from the outer part of the span primarily by the pressure differences between the pressure and the suction sides.
Tip vortices were identified by Qcriterion and visualized as shown in the next figure, which were contoured by Mach number. Root vortices separating off the fairing, as well as the Gurney flaps, were also identified.
6.9.7. Sectional Loads on One of the Blades#
To validate Flow360 results, sectional loads are examined in this section, with respect to the DTU CFD data. These sectional data were extracted from the flow solutions associated with one of the blades, that aligned with the positive direction of yaxis, for example, as shown in the above two figures. Following Flow360’s definitions, the forces shown in the following figures, and so on, are imposed on the turbine rotor by the fluid.
Spanwise distributions of the circumferential component of aerodynamic force are compared in Fig. 6.9.9. As expected, it was this force component that drove the rotor spinning around the positive zdirection. This is consistent with the \(C_{p}\) distributions shown above.
Spanwise distributions of the axial component of aerodynamic force are compared in Fig. 6.9.10. Some discrepancies are present between Flow360 results and the reference at the outer blade, spanning from about 55 to 85 meters. In addition to the aforementioned differences in the turbine geometries, the differences between the current and reference simulation methodologies are likely contributing here, as summarized in Table 6.9.3. DTU results were computed on a structured grid with 14.1 million cells utilizing a pressurebased incompressible Reynoldsaveraged NavierStokes (RANS) solver, where steady state simulations were performed with rotating effects analytically described as discussed, for example, by Troldborg et al and Johansen et al. Whereas, unsteady compressible DDES simulations were performed with Flow360, where a rotating mesh region was incorporated with sliding interfaces. It is suspected that weak compressibility effects may also contribute to such a discrepancy.
Solver Features 
Flow360 
DTU EllipSys3D 

Compressibility 
Compressible 
Incompressible 
Grid Type 
Unstructured 
Structured 
Simulation Type 
Unsteady 
Steadystate 
Turbulence Model 
DDES with SA 
RANS with \(k\omega\) SST 
Boundary Layer Mode 
Fully turbulent 
Fully turbulent 
Rotating Effects 
Rotating Mesh via Sliding Interfaces 
Moving Reference Frame 
Local thrust coefficient, as defined by Eq.(6.9.1), are compared in Fig. 6.9.11. In the right hand side of Eq.(6.9.1), all quantities are dimensional. Here and in the next figure, a constant value of 3.4 meters was used for the reference chord length \(L_{chord,ref}\). Also, \(F_z(r)\) is the sectional axial force. As seen from the figure, there are relatively large differences near the blade root. This likely can be attributed to the presence of the elliptic fairing, together with grid density differences. However, these effects are marginal to the integrated power output.
Local power coefficients, as defined by Eq.(6.9.2), are compared in Fig. 6.9.12. Notably, in the definition, \(M_z(r)\) is the sectional axial moment. As seen from the figure, results agree well between current simulations on the three meshes and that of DTU CFD data, especially for spans greater than 10 meters. Contributions to the power output were decomposed into three segments along the blade, the inner (4 to 33 meters), the middle (33 to 61 meters) and the outer (61 to 89 meters) parts. The corresponding fractions to the total power were about 13%, 38% and 49%.
6.9.8. Integrated Loads on the Entire Rotor#
The integrated data of axial force and moment, as well as power output are summarized in Table 6.9.4. Flow360 results were averaged through the last one revolution. DTU results are also given in this table as references. Overall, reasonable agreement was achieved, with the maximum relative errors of 6.2% and 3.7% for integrated values of axial force and power, respectively.
Parameters 
Units 
Flow360 (Coarse) 
Flow360 (Medium) 
Flow360 (Fine) 
DTU CFD 

CFz 
— 
0.0158519 
0.0157376 
0.0156527 
0.0149317 
CMz 
— 
1.201E03 
1.211E03 
1.218E03 
1.174E03 
Fz 
kN 
1650.8 
1638.9 
1630.1 
1555.0 
Mz 
N*m 
1.115E+07 
1.124E+07 
1.131E+07 
1.090E+07 
Power 
MW 
10.3191 
10.4047 
10.4656 
10.0885 
For Flow360 results, it seems that these integrated performance parameters were asymptotically converging along with the grid refinements, as shown in Fig. 6.9.13. For the results computed on the coarse mesh, the relative errors of these dimensional quantities are all within 1.5%, with respect to those on the fine mesh. To reserve computational costs, offdesign simulations were performed using the coarse mesh, as discussed in the next section with more details.
6.9.9. OffDesign Performance#
For validation and demonstration purposes, wind turbine operations were further simulated at offdesign conditions. To limit engineering efforts without having to further reproduce more turbine geometries, four more offdesign conditions with the same zero blade pitch angle as that operated at the rated condition were selected. The corresponding freestream wind speeds were 7.0, 8.0, 9.0 and 10.0 m/s. Also, as discussed above, the coarse mesh was used in these simulations.
Offdesign sectional loads on one of the blades are shown in Fig. 6.9.14, Fig. 6.9.15, Fig. 6.9.16 and Fig. 6.9.17 for the spanwise distributions of tangential and axial forces, and local thrust and local power coefficients, respectively. For comparison, those of the rated power condition are also shown in these figures, together with the available DTU CFD data. As seen from these figures, overall agreement was well achieved. Notably, Flow360 results at the wind speed of 7.0 m/s are not shown in these figures for sectional loads, since the counterparts of DTU CFD data were not available.
The offdesign key performance parameters, including integrated rotor power and thrust, and their coefficients, are summarized in Table 6.9.5. The definitions of these integral power and thrust coefficients are given in Eq.(6.9.3) and Eq.(6.9.4). Notably, Flow360 results were averaged through the last one revolution.
Offdesign Parameters 


Wind Speed [m/s] 
7.0 
8.0 
9.0 
10.0 
11.0 
RPM 
6.000 
6.426 
7.229 
8.032 
8.836 
Flow360 (DDES) 

Power [MW] 
2.6140 
3.9194 
5.6119 
7.7333 
10.3191 
Thrust [kN] 
708.5 
873.0 
1104.5 
1363.9 
1650.8 
Power Coefficient 
0.498 
0.500 
0.503 
0.505 
0.507 
Thrust Coefficient 
0.945 
0.892 
0.891 
0.891 
0.892 
DTU (RANS) 

Power [MW] 
— 
3.8482 
5.4966 
7.5610 
10.0885 
Thrust [kN] 
— 
817.0 
1036.6 
1282.6 
1555.0 
Power Coefficient 
— 
0.491 
0.493 
0.494 
0.495 
Thrust Coefficient 
— 
0.834 
0.837 
0.838 
0.840 
Offdesign characteristics are visualized in Fig. 6.9.18, where key performance parameters as summarized in the above table are shown in each frame with DTU CFD data. Flow360 predictions reasonably captured the simulated offdesign performance . Offdesign operations above the rated wind speed, 11m/s, can be expected to produce large flow separation from rotor blades. For these scenarios, DDES simulations would provide improved predictions with respect to RANS simulations.