CFD simulations to optimize the blade design of water wheels
- 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.