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Analysis of an oscillating wing in a power-extraction regime based on the compressible Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations and the K–ω SST turbulence model

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Abstract

The aerodynamic performance of an oscillating wing device to extract energy from an oncoming air flow is here investigated by means of time-dependent turbulent flow simulations performed with a compressible Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes research solver using the k–ω Shear Stress Transport model. Previous studies of this device have focused primarily on laminar flow regimes, and have shown that the maximum aerodynamic power conversion can achieve values of about 34 %. The comparative analyses of the energy extraction process in a realistic turbulent flow regime and an ideal laminar regime, reported for the first time in this article, highlight that a) substantial differences of the flow aerodynamics exist between the two cases, b) the maximum efficiency of the device in turbulent conditions achieves values of nearly 40 %, and c) further improvement of the efficiency observed in turbulent flow conditions is achievable by optimizing the kinematic characteristics of the device. The theory underlying the implementation of the adopted compressible turbulent flow solver, and several novel algorithmic features associated with its strongly coupled explicit multigrid integration of the flow and turbulence equations, are also presented.