Analysis of leading edge erosion effects on turbulent flow over airfoils

Akshay Koodly Ravishankara*, Huseyin Özdemir, Edwin van der Weide

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)


The surface of wind turbine blades are prone to degradation due to exposure to the elements. Rain, hail, insects are among the many causes of turbine blade degradation or erosion. Surface degradation of the wind turbine blades leads to a reduction in the aerodynamic performance, resulting in power losses. The effect of surface degradation is studied by modeling the turbine blade as a rough surface. Surface roughness can be positive (insects or other foreign objects) or negative (erosion, delamination). The individual roughness elements are however very small and it is not always feasible to study the actual degraded surface. Thus various roughness models have been proposed in the literature which eliminate the need to accurately model the degraded surface by representing erosion with a virtual surface and modeling the effect of erosion on the flow quantities near the eroded surface. In this study, the reduction in performance of airfoils due to leading edge roughness is quantified. Different roughness models are investigated and evaluated against theoretical models. Additionally, the effect of roughness on different integral boundary layer quantities like displacement thickness, momentum thickness and skin friction are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-779
Number of pages15
JournalRenewable energy
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Leading edge erosion
  • RANS
  • Roughness modeling
  • SU2

Cite this