Cavitation hydrodynamic performance of 3-D printed highly skewed stainless steel tidal turbine rotors




Pitsikoulis, Stylianos Argyrios
Tekumalla, Sravya
Sharma, Anurag
Wong, Wai Leong Eugene
Turkmen, Serkan
Liu, Pengfei

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Hydraulic turbines contribute to 60% of renewable energy in the world; however, they also entail some adverse effects on the aquatic ecology system. One such effect is their excessive noise and vibration. To minimize this effect, one of the most effective and feasible solutions is to modify the design of the turbine rotor blade by introducing a skew. In this study, two 0.3-meter tidal turbines with 0-degree (no-skewness) and positive 90-degree skewness made of stainless steel 316L were designed and printed using a 3-D printing powder bed fusion technique. These rotors were then tested at the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel (ECT) at Newcastle University, UK, and the variation in the skewness of the blades of the turbines as a function of the power coefficient on a given tip speed ratio (TSR) value was ascertained. Results showed that the highly skewed rotor had significantly lower drag and torque fluctuations, with a slight decrease in efficiency compared to the non-skewed one, which warrants further investigation on the effect of added skew to reduce vibration and noise. Numerical simulations were also performed for verification and validation of the experimental tests, using the H45 dynamometer at the ECT. A comprehensive software code for propellers and tidal turbines, ROTORYSICS, was used to examine the cavitation effect of the two rotors; a comparison was made for both, with and without cavitation. The results indicate that for a high immersion depth of tidal turbine rotors, cavitation rarely occurs, but for hydrokinetic turbines that are installed on dams in rivers and falls, cavitation could be a serious concern. It was concluded that the 0-degree skewed rotor is more hydrodynamically efficient than the 90-degree skewed rotor.



tidal turbines, cavitation tunnel, cavitation, blade skewness, power generation, structural integrity, environmental impact


Pitsikoulis, S. A., Tekumalla, S., Sharma, A., Wong, W. L., Turkmen, S., & Liu, P. (2023). Cavitation hydrodynamic performance of 3-D printed highly skewed stainless steel tidal turbine rotors. Energies, 16(9), 3675.