On the quasi-instantaneous aerodynamic load and pressure field measurements on turbines by non-intrusive PIV

Arturo Villegas, F. Javier Diez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


An experimental technique is presented to non-intrusively measure the quasi-instantaneous aerodynamic loads and surrounding pressure field for a turbine by using particle image velocimetry (PIV). The PIV measurements provide the velocity flow field needed to calculate the pressure field around the turbine using three different methods. In the first method, the quasi-instantaneous and mean pressure fields are obtained by solving the Poisson equation and by calculating the boundary conditions from the Navier-Stokes equations. In the second method, the pressure at the boundaries is determined by spatial integration of the pressure gradient. In the third method, the pressure is calculated using the Bernoulli equation. The experimental results are compared to aerodynamic load theoretical predictions from the Blade Element Momentum theory (BEM). An analysis of the experimental results showed the importance of the local acceleration, convective and pressure terms when calculating the forces and the pressure field in a stationary reference frame. Only the Poisson method includes all these terms, and had a small standard deviation between the calculated instantaneous forces. Furthermore, the Poisson method results are independent of the control volume size investigated while the other two experimental methods are affected. This experimental technique could be used to simultaneously replace instrumentation such as force balance and pressure taps while providing for the first time quasi-instantaneous information about the surrounding flow in any turbine immersed in an incompressible flow. In addition, it could be applied to evaluate unsteady wind loads and aerodynamic stall and also provide much needed information for validating computational studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalRenewable Energy
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Experimental measurements
  • Load and pressure measurements
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Wind turbine


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