Visualizing Flow with Snowfall

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One of the challenges in engineering and operating wind turbines is that full-scale turbines rarely behave as predicted in smaller-scale laboratory experiments and simulations. One way to reconcile these differences (and discover what our experiments and simulations are missing) is to take the experiments out into the field. One research group has done this by using snowfall to visualize the flow around wind turbines. In this video, they share some of their observations, which include interactions of tip vortices with one another and with the vortex from the tower. My favorite part starts around 1:50 where you can observe tip vortices leap-frogging one another behind the wind turbine! (Video credit: Y. Liu et al.)

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