A methodology to capture the single blade loads on a cross-flow tidal turbine flume model


  • Timo Bennecke Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg
  • Karla Ruiz-Hussmann
  • Paul Joedecke
  • Shokoofeh Abbaszadeh
  • Pierre-Luc Delafin
  • Christian-Toralf Weber
  • Stefan Hoerner




fluid-solid-interaction, blade loads, cross-flow tidal turbine


The OPTIDE project aims to improve the efficiency and durability of Hydro-kinetic cross-flow tidal turbines (CFTT). These turbines are attractive for the exploitation of tidal energy, as the area-based power density of such turbine arrays is higher in comparison to those from horizontal-axis turbines. CFTT also generally feature a simpler design and the ability to operate under varying flow conditions. Nevertheless, the efficiency of single CFTT is lower relative to the most commonly used axial turbine type. Furthermore the life time can be affected by alternating and pulsating stresses, caused by continuous variations of the angle of attack and hydraulic loads during the rotation. These stresses may lead to structural damage and fatigue-induced material failures. A promising approach to overcome these drawbacks is intracycle blade pitching. In this case the angle of attack is continuously adjusted individually for each blade during the rotation. The consequence is smoothed peaks of the load alternations and a higher power coefficient CP . The project aims to explore the influence of active blade pitching on CFTTs and to optimize it with numerical and experimental means. Therefore, a lab-scaled three-bladed experimental turbine with embedded pitch actuators is developed. The model will subsequently be tested in the lab flume of the Institute of Fluid Dynamics and Thermodynamics of the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. Blade forces in tangential and radial components as well as the machine torque and the rotational speed are measured during the experiments. The turbine is equipped with two full-bridges of strain gauges for the detection of the blade loads, from which the structural stress is calculated subsequently. To ensure the turbine model’s mechanical durability, weakly coupled fluid-solid-interaction (FSI) simulations have been performed and will be presented. To this purpose, a 2D flow analysis, employing the open-source CFD toolkit OpenFOAM (v2206), has been coupled with a 3D structural analysis, using the Mechanical module of the commercial software package Ansys Workbench (2020 R2). The FSI simulations show that the current setup only allows for the measurement of the radial blade load component, because the pitching moment at blade level interferes with the measurements as soon as the profile stalls. The measurements are further distorted by secondary force paths from the loads on the other rotor blades. Possible measures for an improved instrumentation strategy on the flume model will be presented and discussed. It is shown that multiple equipment options allow for a decent investigation of the forces on blade level.



How to Cite

T. Bennecke, “A methodology to capture the single blade loads on a cross-flow tidal turbine flume model”, Proc. EWTEC, vol. 15, Sep. 2023.