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Wave-current interaction effects on tidal stream turbine performance and loading characteristics

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The transient interaction between tidal currents and the rotation of a horizontal axis turbine rotor have the potential to induce high asymmetric loadings, which are subsequently transmitted to the drive shaft and potentially high speed drive train components. To mitigate the potential for early component failure, analysis of asymmetric loading on marine turbines is fundamental to the design process. To investigate these loads a turbine mounted on a circular stanchion has been used to highlight the effects of introducing more realistic boundary conditions. Depending on their wavelength, waves can also have a significant effect on the overall design decisions and placement of devices. Thrust loading and bending moments applied to the drive shaft can be of the order of hundreds of kN and kN m respectively. Knowledge of the flow regime can allow designers to evaluate material selection for components and incorporate some deformation capability of the turbine blades to increase the power output and potentially alleviate some of the stress distribution through key structural points. The resulting data can then be used to estimate component life via fatigue prediction. This paper includes a multi-physics approach to modelling tidal energy devices and the potential for modelling to inform device condition monitoring.




Tatum, S. C., Frost, C. H., Allmark, M., O’Doherty, D. M., Mason-Jones, A., Prickett, P. W., … O’Doherty, T. (2016). Wave-current interaction effects on tidal stream turbine performance and loading characteristics. International Journal of Marine Energy, 14, 161–179.

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