C. Consul, R. Willden and S. McIntosh – Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 2013
This paper explores the influence of blockage and free-surface deformation on the hydrodynamic performance of a generic marine cross-flow turbine. Flows through a three-bladed turbine with solidity 0.125 are simulated at field-test blade Reynolds numbers, O(105–106), for three different cross-stream blockages: 12.5, 25 and 50 per cent. Two representations of the free-surface boundary are considered: rigid lid and deformable free surface. Increasing the blockage is observed to lead to substantial increases in the power coefficient; the highest power coefficient computed is 1.23. Only small differences are observed between the two free-surface representations, with the deforming free-surface turbine out-performing the rigid lid turbine by 6.7 per cent in power at the highest blockage considered. This difference is attributed to the increase in effective blockage owing to the deformation of the free surface. Hydrodynamic efficiency, the ratio of useful power generated to overall power removed from the flow, is found to increase with blockage, which is consistent with the presence of a higher flow velocity through the core of the turbine at higher blockage ratios. Froude number is found to have little effect on thrust and power coefficients, but significant influence on surface elevation drop across the turbine.