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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Computational Fluid Dynamics, Wind Turbines, Unsteady Aerodynamics, NREL, Simulations, OpenFOAM


One of the most abundant sources of renewable energy is wind. Today, a considerable amount of resources are being utilized for research on harnessing the wind energy efficiently. Out of all the factors responsible for efficient energy production, the aerodynamics of flow around the wind turbine blades play an important role. This work aims to undertake aerodynamic analysis of a Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine. A steady state, incompressible flow solver for multiple reference frames, MRFSimple- Foam is modified and used for performing simulations of flow over National Renewable Energy Laboratory Phase VI wind turbine rotor. The code is first tested on a locally modeled wind turbine blade and is then validated by using the actual NREL rotor. The flow behavior is studied and a comparison of results from the simulations and the experimental wind tunnel data is presented. The ability of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques in simulating wind flow over entire wind turbine assembly is also displayed by carrying out moving mesh simulations of a full wind turbine.


First Advisor

Blair Perot

Second Advisor

Matthew Lackner