Tom Blackmore, William M. J. Batten, Gerald U. Műller, and AbuBakr S. Bahaj – Experiments in Fluids, December 2013
Laboratory experiments have been used to investigate the effects of turbulence on the drag of both solid discs and porous disc turbine simulators. These discs were introduced to turbulent flows, in a gravity-fed water flume, with various levels of turbulence intensity and integral length scales. The turbulence was generated using three different grid configurations, which produced intensities and scales comparable with previous wind tunnel studies. The drag measurements were taken with discs of two different diameters and porosities with and without the upstream grids. The experimental results have demonstrated that the drag coefficients, of all the discs tested, are significantly dependent on both the turbulence intensity and integral length scale. For small integral length scales, relative to the disc, the drag coefficients converged for turbulence intensities greater than 13 %, with an increase of around 20 % in drag coefficient over the low-intensity case. Experiments with turbulence intensities of 10 % demonstrated minimum drag coefficients when the integral length scale-to-disc diameter ratio was around 50 %. Significant variations in the drag coefficient of circular bluff bodies are therefore expected when operating in turbulent flows with different characteristics.