PhD scholarship in Development of the next-generation engineering aerodynamic models for wind turbine rotors

DTU Vindenergi
onsdag 10 okt 18

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Frist 24. oktober 2018
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The research fields that the Aerodynamic Design (AER) section work with are aerodynamics and aeroacoustics, and the research is based on both modelling and experimental methods. On the modelling side, the fidelities range from engineering models to computationally demanding vortex-based and CFD models, facilitating Fluid-Structure-Interaction methods and multidisciplinary design. The tools and knowledge are applied in interaction with the industry in the design process for solving problems and implementing new concepts.

On the experimental side, the Poul la Cour Wind tunnel, the Research Turbine, and the Rotating Test Rig are facilities that offer invaluable feedback for improving both the computational models and implementation of new concepts and thereby boost the impact of our research.
The maturing of higher fidelity aerodynamic prediction models (Vortex- and CFD models) and the combination with the increase in available computational power have made analysis of selected particularly complex wind turbine flow cases using these methods possible. However, these models are too computationally demanding for design, load evaluation and aeroelastic stability analysis.

Blade Element Momentum (BEM) methods have proven capable of producing results that match very well measurements and higher fidelity models for wind turbine rotors that are plane and have straight, non-swept blades. This, combined with its very low computational cost, have resulted in BEM models remaining the aerodynamic workhorse in the vast majority of all rotor design, load analysis and aeroelastic stability investigations. New studies, however, show that the BEM based approach is severely challenged for more advanced designs which incorporate in-plane and out-of-plane blade/rotor shapes.

Since many modern blades are highly elastic, and incorporate increasing amounts of out-of-plane (prebend/coning) and in-plane (blade sweep) blade shapes, these shortcomings are unfortunate, and can introduce unnecessary errors in the design and analysis process.

Responsibilities and tasks
In response to this, DTU Wind Energy is looking for a PhD candidate to engage in development of the next generation engineering aerodynamic framework for optimization and analysis of slender, highly flexible rotor blades with both in-plane and out-of plane geometric variation, which will be characteristic of future blade designs. Such future engineering aerodynamic models could be hybrid models combining e.g. elements from vortex and BEM type models.  

The candidate will have a large role in the development of the next generation engineering aerodynamic models suitable also for aerodynamic and aeroelastic simulations of highly flexible rotors with significant in-plane and out-of-plane geometric variation and operation in complex, turbulent inflow.

The main part of your work includes development, implementation and application of mathematical models and numerical analysis. It is envisaged that the developed models should be used in a multi-fidelity aerodynamic optimization framework, so there will be a fair amount of cooperation with a team developing an optimization framework for wind turbines. In line with this, the candidate will also work with other PhD students in the development of an advanced blade element moment model with analytic gradients for use in the framework.

Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

For the main position, the candidate should have a very good understanding of

• Wind turbine aerodynamics
• Vortex theory and methods
• Blade Element Momentum
The candidate should also have a strong background in applied mathematics as well as a good foundation in programming with a focus on the Matlab, Python and Fortran languages.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.
Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union.

The period of employment is 3 years.

DTU RISØ Campus, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information may be obtained from Mac Gaunaa (, Georg Pirrung ( and Helge Aagaard Madsen (

You can read more about the Wind Energy Department at

Please submit your online application no later than 24 October 2018.

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Wind Energy has more than 240 staff members, including 150 academic staff members and approximately 40 PhD students. DTU Wind Energy has a considerable degree of innovation and cooperation with companies and sector associations within the wind industry in Denmark and abroad. The research is conducted within the three main topics wind energy systems, wind turbine technology, and basics for wind energy. DTU Wind Energy is one of the largest and most prominent research institutions within wind energy.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.