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Investigation of the three-dimensional flow past a flatback wind turbine airfoil at high angles of attack

Manolesos, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-5506-6061 and Papadakis, G. (2021). Investigation of the three-dimensional flow past a flatback wind turbine airfoil at high angles of attack. Physics of Fluids, 33(8), 085106. doi: 10.1063/5.0055822


Flatback airfoils are airfoils with a blunt trailing edge. They are currently commonly used in the inboard part of large wind turbine blades, as they offer a number of aerodynamic, structural, and aeroelastic benefits. However, the flow past them at high angles of attack (AoA) has received relatively little attention until now. This is important because they usually operate at high AoA at the inboard part of Wind Turbine blades. The present investigation uses Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) and hybrid RANS + large eddy simulation predictions to analyze the flow in question. The numerical results are validated against previously published wind tunnel experiments. The analysis reveals that to successfully simulate this flow, the spanwise extent of the computational domain is crucial, more so than the selection of the modeling approach. Additionally, a low-drag regime observed at angles of attack before stall is identified and analyzed in detail. Finally, the complex interaction between the three-dimensional separated flow beyond maximum lift (stall cells) with the vortex shedding from the blunt trailing edge is revealed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: 2021 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Engineering > Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics
Date available in CRO: 02 Nov 2021 14:19
Date deposited: 2 November 2021
Date of acceptance: 9 July 2021
Date of first online publication: 3 August 2021
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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