Fluid-Structure Interaction of Inflatable Wing Section


Airborne wind energy (AWE) is a novel renewable energy technology for harvesting wind energyby using kites. Compared to conventional wind turbines, the AWE systems use a lightweightstructure which can reach higher altitudes where the winds are stronger and more persistent.In this work, we study the steady-state aerodynamics of a ram-air kite section which is made ofmembranes. The inflatable structure of the kite is highly flexible and therefore exhibit a strongcoupling between fluid and structure. An accurate aerodynamic model is essential to design asystem which is both aerodynamically efficient and of high steering capability. The aerodynamicload distribution is calculated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) toolbox OpenFOAMwith FOAM-FSI extension. The structural deformation is calculated with in-house mem4pyfinite element (FE) solver for membranes which uses dynamic relaxation method to find thesteady-state shape. The two solvers are coupled with preCICE coupling tool.

Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Coupled Problems in Science and Engineering
Mikko Folkersma
PhD Researcher

Interested in computational fluid dynamics and particularly in fluid-structure interaction.