Vortex generators (VGs) are increasingly used in the wind turbine manufacture industry as flow control devices to improve rotor blade aerodynamic performance. Nevertheless, VGs may produce excess residual drag in some applications. The so-called sub-boundary layer VGs can provide an effective flow-separation control with lower drag than the conventional VGs. The main objective of this study is to investigate how well the simulations can reproduce the physics of the flow of the primary vortex generated by rectangular sub-boundary layer VGs mounted on a flat plate with a negligible pressure gradient with an angle of attack of the vane to the oncoming flow of β = 18°. Three devices with aspect ratio values of 2, 2.5 and 3 are qualitatively and quantitatively compared. To that end, computational simulations have been carried out using the RANS (Reynolds averaged Navier–Stokes) method and at Reynolds number Re = 2600 based on the boundary layer momentum thickness θ
at the VG position. The computational results show good agreement with the experimental data provided by the Advanced Aerodynamic Tools of Large Rotors (AVATAR) European project for the development and validation of aerodynamic models. Finally, the results indicate that the highest VG seems to be more suitable for separation control applications.
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