Coherent Structure Interaction During Unsteady Separation

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AIAA Journal

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Unsteady flow separation in rotationally augmented flow fields plays a significant role in the aerodynamic performance of industrial rotors, including wind turbines. Current computational models underestimate the aerodynamic loads due to the inaccurate prediction of the emergence and severity of unsteady flow separation, especially in response to a sudden change in the effective angle of attack. Through the use of time-resolved particle image velocimetry (PIV), coherent structure formation during the unsteady separation over an experimental wind turbine blade is examined. Time-dependent empirical mode decomposition results during a dynamic pitching cycle give insight into the spatio-temporal scales that influence the transition from attached to separated flow. Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) modes are represented as two-dimensional fields and are analyzed together with Lagrangian coherent structures, the spatial distribution of vortices, the location of the separation point, and velocity contours focusing on the role of vortex shedding and shear-layer perturbation in unsteady flow separation, stall, and reattachment. The combination of these analytical techniques provides experimental evidence that the location of the separation point and the stability of the shear layer are directly influenced by the presence of vortices. Within this paper, each of the scales represented by the EMD are directly connected to the size of the vortices present, from the smallest representing a vortex radius to the largest reaching to two full vortex diameters. The velocity scales and spatial scales provided by the EMD modes are also found to supply valuable inputs into the identification of Lagrangian coherent structures within each of the PIV snapshots. This indicates that the scales captured by the EMD can be used to extract important turbulent scales present at the point of flow separation where the vortices are created, providing relenvant insight into the separation dynamics of the airfoil.


Copyright © 2019 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.

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