The results of stereo Particle-Image-Velocimetry measurements are presented in this paper to gain further insight into the wake of a finite width Gurney flap. It is attached to an FX 63-137 airfoil which is known for a very good performance at low Reynolds numbers and is therefore used for small wind turbines and is most appropriate for tests in the low speed wind tunnel presented in this study. The Gurney flaps are a promising concept for load control on wind turbines but can have adverse side effects, e.g. shedding of additional vortices. The investigation focuses on frequencies and velocity distributions in the wake as well as on the structure of the induced tip vortices. Phase averaged velocity fields are derived of a Proper-Orthogonal-Decomposition based on the stereo PIV measurements. Additional hot-wire measurements were conducted to analyze the fluctuations downstream of the finite width Gurney flaps. Experiments indicate a general tip vortex structure that is independent from flap length but altered by the periodic shedding downstream of the flap.
The influence of Gurney flaps on a small wind turbine is investigated by simulating a small 40 kW turbine in Q-Blade. They can serve as power control without the need of an active pitch system and the starting performance is additionally improved. The application of Gurney flaps imply tonal frequencies in the wake of the blade. Simulation results are used to estimate the resulting frequencies. However, the solution of Gurney flaps is a good candidate for large scale wind turbine implementation as well. A FAST simulation of the NREL 5MW turbine is used to generate realistic time series of the lift. The estimations of control capabilities predict a reduction in the standard deviation of the lift of up to 65%. Therefore finite width Gurney flaps are promising to extend the lifetime of future wind turbines.