The influence of freestream turbulence on the temporal pressure distribution and lift of an airfoil
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics. 2021, 209 . 10.1016/j.jweia.2020.104456
To gain insight on how freestream turbulence (FST) affects the aerodynamics of an airfoil in a systematic manner, the present study investigates a NREL S826 airfoil subjected to seven different incoming flows with varying degrees of FST. The Reynolds number was held at Rec = 4.0 × 105, while the turbulence intensity (Ti) was varied between 0.4% and 5.4%. An increase in Ti increases the maximum lift while having negligible effects on the stall angle. The lift slope in the linear region also generally increased with higher Ti. The latter observation contrasts with some earlier studies, and incoming flow homogeneity is a potential contributing factor to the differences seen here. Periodic pressure fluctuations are seen in the computed lift time-series signal when Ti is between 1% and 2% and the airfoil is operating in the linear region. These fluctuations arise from surface pressure oscillations that are likely excited by the relatively low incoming Ti. The overall effect is a reduction in the time-averaged lift under these operating conditions. At higher Ti, more energetic boundary layers develop over the airfoil’s suction side and the effect of these periodic pressure fluctuations is suppressed, leading to an increase in the produced lift.