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Albatros Create: an interactive and generative tool for the design and 3D modeling of wind turbines with wavy leading edge

Abstract

The shape of a wind turbine blade plays a critical role in the efficiency and robustness of energy production. In particular, the Wavy Leading Edge is a morphology that can be implemented in the blades to improve the operating range in unsteady conditions. The best performance is achieved by fine-tuning the blade geometry to the specific context. An aerodynamic exploration of these kinds of morphologies implies generating and evaluating design iterations. Accordingly, this work presents the development of the generative tool Albatros \(\hbox {Create}^{\textregistered }\). Through interactive visualization, infographics, and centralized parameterization, its goal is to support the geometrical definition of the aerodynamic surfaces of horizontal-axis turbines with or without a wavy leading edge. New airfoil profiles can be created, and 3D models of the rotors designed can be automatically generated. The software was implemented in the design of two rotors which were then recreated in a benchmarking analysis with four other softwares. None of the four managed to generate the smooth surfaces in fully-editable models that were achieved with Albatros Create. This work aims at empowering the research community with a user-friendly tool for exploring rotor designs through virtual prototypes. This can help to integrate further the design, modeling, and optimization stages, addressing a wider audience and facilitating the implementation of Wavy Leading Edge morphologies.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Santiago Bernal Del Rio, who participated in the development of the GUI and the implementation of the NACA equations in conjunction with Baptiste Simon Lepage, and to Valentin Niclas, who participated in the development of the functionalities programmed in Visual Basic for Applications. Special thanks to Universidad EAFIT through the postgraduate studies grant “Undergraduate research excellence scholarship”. Also, special thanks to Colciencias (Colombian Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation) and Universidad EAFIT, who sponsored the “Young Researchers and Innovators Program” in the 645-2014 and 761-2016 calls. This research has been developed in the framework of the Research Program “Estrategia de transformación del sector energético Colombiano en el horizonte de 2030-ENERGETICA 2030”, code 58667, funded by the World Bank through Colciencias’ 778-2017 call - Scientific Ecosystem, Contract FP44842-210-2018.

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Correspondence to Andrés Arias-Rosales.

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Arias-Rosales, A., Osorio-Gómez, G. Albatros Create: an interactive and generative tool for the design and 3D modeling of wind turbines with wavy leading edge. Int J Interact Des Manuf (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12008-020-00655-y

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Keywords

  • Wind turbines
  • Parametric CAD modeling
  • Wavy leading edge
  • Generative software
  • Design tool
  • Virtual prototype