Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Jeremy Vanderover




wind turbines, wind power


As the demand for wind power grows the technology used to research and further develop wind power must become more sophisticated. Experiments are expensive and require high end test facilities; a commonly used alternative to experimentation are computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models of wind turbines. For this project Star- CCM+ a CFD software was used to determine the power generated by small scale horizontal axis wind turbines. The Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) equations were applied to the models in order to solve for the average flow. Though a variety of different types of simulations were used the focus was on a rigid body motion model a dynamic fluid body interaction (DFBI) model and an actuator disk model (ADM). These three simulations were then validated using experimental data published by the National Renewable Energy Lab and various computational studies. It was determined that the best model of the three was the actuator disk model because it most accurately depicted the wake generated by the turbine. However the values calculated for power generated by the turbines in both the actuator disk model and the rigid body motion model varied significantly from the studies that were used to validate them. The dynamic fluid body interaction model was not successful as the rotation could not be induced by the flow.