A computational design method for bio-mimicked horizontal axis tidal turbines

Siddharth Suhas Kulkarni, Craig Chapman, Hanifa Shah, David John Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to conduct a comparative analysis between a straight blade (SB) and a curved caudal-fin tidal turbine blade (CB) and to examine the aspects relating to geometry, turbulence modelling, non-dimensional forces lift and power coefficients. Design/methodology/approach: The comparison utilises results obtained from a default horizontal axis tidal turbine with turbine models available from the literature. A computational design method was then developed and implemented for “horizontal axis tidal turbine blade”. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results for the blade design are presented in terms of lift coefficient distribution at mid-height blades, power coefficients and blade surface pressure distributions. Moving the CB back towards the SB ensures that the total blade height stays constant for all geometries. A 3D mesh independency study of a “straight blade horizontal axis tidal turbine blade” modelled using CFD was carried out. The grid convergence study was produced by employing two turbulence models, the standard k-ε model and shear stress transport (SST) in ANSYS CFX. Three parameters were investigated: mesh resolution, turbulence model, and power coefficient in the initial CFD, analysis. Findings: It was found that the mesh resolution and the turbulence model affect the power coefficient results. The power coefficients obtained from the standard k-ε model are 15 to 20 per cent lower than the accuracy of the SST model. Further analysis was performed on both the designed blades using ANSYS CFX and SST turbulence model. The variation in pressure distributions yields to the varying lift coefficient distribution across blade spans. The lift coefficient reached its peak between 0.75 and 0.8 of the blade span where the total lift accelerates with increasing pressure before drastically dropping down at 0.9 onwards due to the escalating rotational velocity of the blades. Originality/value: The work presents a computational design methodological approach that is entirely original. While this numerical method has proven to be accurate and robust for many traditional tidal turbines, it has now been verified further for CB tidal turbines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-209
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bio-mimicry
  • Comparative analysis
  • Direct design method
  • Horizontal axis tidal turbine
  • Tidal energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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