Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Drink. Water Eng. Sci., 10, 27–32, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/dwes-10-27-2017

Special issue: Computing and Control for the Water Industry, CCWI 2016

Drink. Water Eng. Sci., 10, 27–32, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/dwes-10-27-2017

Research article 16 May 2017

Research article | 16 May 2017

CFD simulations to optimize the blade design of water wheels

Emanuele Quaranta and Roberto Revelli Emanuele Quaranta and Roberto Revelli
  • Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy

Abstract. At low head sites and at low discharges, water wheels can be considered among the most convenient hydropower converters to install. The aim of this work is to improve the performance of an existing breastshot water wheel by changing the blade shape using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations. Three optimal profiles are investigated: the profile of the existing blades, a circular profile and an elliptical profile. The results are validated by performing experimental tests on the wheel with the existing profile. The numerical results show that the efficiency of breastshot wheels is affected by the blade profile. The average increase in efficiency using the new circular profile is about 4 % with respect to the profile of the existing blades.

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Short summary
Breastshot water wheels are hydropower converters that efficiently work at low head sites (lower than 4 m) and at low discharges (1.2 cubic meters per meter width maximum). Water wheels represent an attractive solution for decentralized energy production. The aim of this work is to improve the performance of an existing water wheel by changing the blade shape using numerical simulations. An optimal profile was determined, and general recommendations for the blade design are reported.