Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics Department
von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics
Phone: +32 2 359 96 11
FRIA Grant 2018 (1st year)
PhD Topic: Analytical and experimental investigation of icing phenomena on wind turbine blades
The biggest technical challenge of the cold climate wind energy is the operation of wind turbines in icing conditions. The super cooled water droplets present in the atmosphere freeze at the impact with the turbine blades. The ice accretion lowers the energy production, degrades the aerodynamic properties and generates unbalanced forces acting on the rotor. Moreover, important safety hazards are caused by the ice shedding phenomenon. In order to limit these negative effects, ice protection systems are used. These systems imply high additional costs and have several drawbacks.
This work proposes an experimental and analytical study of the most encountered icing phenomena in order to investigate the limitations of the widely used electro-thermal de-icing systems. The experiments will be conducted in the VKI icing wind tunnel and will start with the investigation of ice accretion effects over a wind turbine blade. After, applying resistive heating elements on a simplified configuration and using laser illuminated flow visualizations and infrared thermal imaging, the liquid film formed due to the applied heat transfer and the run-back ice phenomenon will be studied. Using also force measurements in the same configuration, the critical parameters for the ice shedding will be determined. An analytical model will be proposed and used to design an optimized de-icing system which will be adapted and tested in a real wind turbine blade configuration. The final goal of this work is to generate an easy to use analytical tool to improve the design and the efficiency of the electro-thermal de-icing systems.
Keywords: Icing, ice shedding, run-back ice, wind turbine, electro-thermal, de-icing, heat transfer, thin films, icing wind tunnel, analytical modeling.