Evaluation of unsteady pressure fields and forces in rotating airfoils from time-resolved PIV

A. Villegas, F. J. Diez

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27 Scopus citations


The instantaneous pressure fields and aerodynamic loads are obtained for rotating airfoils from timeresolved particle image velocimetry (TR-PIV) measurements. These allowed evaluating the contribution from the local acceleration (unsteady acceleration) to the instantaneous forces. Traditionally, this term has been neglected for wind turbines with quasi-steady flows, but results show that it is a dominant term in the wake where high temporal variations in the flow field are present due to vortex shedding. Briefly, time-resolved particle image velocimetry TR-PIV measurements are used to calculate flow velocity fields and corresponding spatial and temporal derivatives. These derivatives are then used in the Poisson equation to solve for the pressure field and later used in the integral momentum equation to solve for the instantaneous forces. The robustness of the measurements is analyzed by calculating the PIV uncertainty and the independence of the calculated forces. The experimental mean aerodynamic forces are compared with theoretical predictions from the blade element momentum theory showing good agreement. The instantaneous pressure field showed dependence with time in the wake due to vortex shedding. The contribution to the instantaneous forces from each term in the integral momentum equation is evaluated. The analysis shows that the larger contributions to the normal force coefficient are from the unsteady and the pressure terms, and the larger contribution to the tangential force coefficient is from the convective term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1697
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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