Computational investigations of blunt trailing-edge and twist modifications to the inboard region of the NREL 5 MW rotor


Correspondence: Raymond Chow, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



The effects of twist and section shape modifications in the inboard region on the aerodynamic characteristics of the NREL 5 MW rotor have been examined using a Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes method OVERFLOW2. The baseline rotor blade was modified by increasing the trailing-edge thickness over the inboard region by modifying the sections’ thickness distribution aft of the maximum thickness location. Results when compared with the baseline rotor show that a modest increase of trailing-edge thickness to 10–20%c increased power capture by 1%. Further increases in trailing-edge thickness decrease in effectiveness to the point of reducing power capture when thicknesses reach 40%c. Increasing trailing-edge thicknesses also leads to an increase in thrust, but this load is concentrated in the inboard region, resulting in a small increase in root bending moments. The blunt trailing-edge concept greatly reduces the spanwise extent of inboard flow separation evident in the baseline NREL 5 MW rotor. The low-pressure region aft of the trailing edge, created by the geometry, acts to reduce the spanwise spreading of the inboard separation. Rotors with modified twist distributions over the inboard 35%R of span are also compared. Inboard twist angles are varied from + 6° to − 6° from the baseline twist schedule. Increasing inboard blade twist reduces overall rotor power capture but reduces thrust at a faster rate. Power capture remains constant with decreasing inboard geometry twist, whereas thrust increases approximately linearly by 0.75% for a decrease in thrust of 6°. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.