A team of researchers from the Technical University of Denmark, F. Zahle, D. Verelst, F. Bertagnolio, and C. Bak, are using OpenMDAO to perform an aero-structural optimization of wind turbine blades. Their goal is to design airfoils that are more effective over the varied wind conditions seen by wind turbines in real-world conditions. They performed an airfoil optimization that considered aerodynamics at multiple wind conditions with clean and rough blade surfaces. They also considered the structural needs of the blades in order to retain structural integrity. Aerodynamics computations are handled by XFOIL or their in-house CFD code, EllipSys2D, and the structural calculations are handled by BECAS. OpenMDAO is managing the interdisciplinary coupling between the aerodynamics and the structures and is facilitating the switching between XFOIL and EllipSys2D. The researchers have made a nice animation of the optimization process.
Aero-Structural Optimization of Wind Turbine Blades
April 1, 2014