Distributed Aerodynamic Control Using Active Trailing-Edge Flaps for Large Wind Turbines

Roland Feil, Nikhar Abbas, Pietro Bortolotti, Nicholas Johnson, Ben Mertz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


This work presents a numerical framework to investigate distributed aerodynamic control devices for application in large wind turbines. Tool capabilities were extended to facilitate multiple aerodynamic polar tables. The airfoil aerodynamics characteristics were automatically determined, and blade-pitch, generator-torque, and trailing-edge-flap controllers were tuned in-the-loop according to a specific blade design. This automated workflow allows analysis and optimization of trailing-edge flaps, enabling codesign studies. Results targeted reductions of root-flap-bending moment derivatives. The applied trailing-edge-flap control reduced the standard deviation of root-flap-bending moments by more than 6% and benefit related parameters, e.g., reduce blade-tip deflections, by up to 8%. Because of varying thrust distributions along the blade span, different flap designs have nonlinear characteristics in terms of the control objective and show best performance when located at the radial position with maximum thrust. In general, larger flaps provide a greater influence to reduce the target control objective.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 042026
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number4
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2020
EventScience of Making Torque from Wind 2020, TORQUE 2020 - Virtual, Online, Netherlands
Duration: 28 Sep 20202 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-76357


  • active trailing-edge flaps
  • distributed aerodynamic control
  • large rotors
  • MDAO


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