Numerical Investigation of the Influence of Shear and Thermal Stratification on the Wind Turbine Tip-Vortex Stability

Amy Hodgkin, Sylvain Laizet, Georgios Deskos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus Citations


The interaction between wind turbine wakes and atmospheric turbulence is characterised by complex dynamics. In this study, two major components of the atmospheric boundary layer dynamics have been isolated, namely, the mean velocity profile shear and the thermal stratification, to examine their impact on the near-wake development by undertaking a series of highly resolved large-eddy simulations. Subsequently, instantaneous flow fields are extracted from the simulations and used to conduct Fourier analysis and proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) and compute the mean kinetic energy fluxes by different POD modes to better understand the tip-vortex instability mechanisms. Our findings indicate that shear can significantly affect the breakup of the wind turbine tip-vortices and the shape and stable length of the wake, whereas thermal stratification seems to only have limited contribution to the spatial development of the near-wake field. Finally, our analysis shows that the applied perturbation frequency determines the tip-vortex breakup location as it controls the onset of the mutual inductance instability.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1270-1289
Number of pages20
JournalWind Energy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5000-85159 for paper as published in proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Turbulence and Shear Flow Phenomena (TSFP12), 19-22 July 2022, Osaka, Japan

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-82017


  • near-wake field
  • shear
  • stable wake length
  • thermal stratification
  • tip-vortex stability


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical Investigation of the Influence of Shear and Thermal Stratification on the Wind Turbine Tip-Vortex Stability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this