Ph.D. Proposal: Auraluck Pichitkul

Mon Mar 30 2020 09:30 AM

Auraluck Pichitkul

Advisor: Prof. Lakshmi N. Sankar

will propose a doctoral thesis entitled,

A Unified Approach for Modeling Fluid-Structure Interactions of Large-Scale Offshore Wind Turbines


Monday, March 30 at 9:30 AM



Recent advances in wind energy technology allows modern wind turbines to increase in size and capacity. Turbine rotor blades are long, slender, flexible bodies, and tend to be more susceptible to structural deformations. In offshore applications, blade structural deflections are expectedly even more pronounced compared to the land-based counterparts due to the combined effects of higher wind loads and aero-hydro-structure interactions. In the present study, a fully automated two-way CFD-CSD (Computational Fluid Dynamics/Computational Structural Dynamics) coupling technique for investigating performance of large-scale offshore wind turbines is proposed. On the CFD side, an in-house CFD solver GT-Hybrid is used, in which the near-field flow is resolved by solving Navier-Stokes equations, while a far-field wake is modeled by Lagrangean wake representation. On the CSD side, an opensource modularized multi-physics computational framework called OpenFAST developed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is utilized. It is also proposed that the two-way coupling technique be used to study alternative blade design concepts applicable to large-scale wind turbines such as inboard biplane configuration.

At this writing, only a one-way coupling has been attempted, feeding the blade motion and structural deformations from OpenFAST into the fluid dynamics analysis. The sectional aerodynamic loads for a large scale 5 MW offshore wind turbine have been computed, and compared against the baseline OpenFAST simulations which employs the classical blade element-momentum theory. Encouraging agreement has been observed.


  • · Prof. Lakshmi N. Sankar – School of Aerospace Engineering (advisor)
  • · Prof. Jechiel Jagoda – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • · Prof. J.V.R. Prasad – School of Aerospace Engineering