Recent developments in marine hydrokinetic (MHK) technology have put the cross-flow (often vertical-axis) turbines at the forefront. MHK devices offer alternative solutions for clean marine energy generation as a replacement for traditional hydraulic turbines such as the Francis, Kaplan, and Pelton. Following previous power measurements of laboratory-scaled cross-flow hydrokinetic turbines in different configurations, this article presents studies of the water flow field immediately behind the turbines. Two independent turbines, which operated at an average diameter-based Reynolds number of approximately 0.2 X 105, were driven by a stepper motor at various speeds in a closed circuit water tunnel with a constant freestream velocity of 0.316 m/s. The wakes produced by the three NACA0012 blades of each turbine were recorded with a monoscopic particle image velocimetry technique and analyzed. The flow structures with velocity, vorticity, and kinetic energy fields were correlated with the turbine power production and are discussed herein. Each flow field was decomposed into the time averaged, periodic, and random components for all the cases. The results indicate the key to refining the existed turbine design for enhancement of its power production and serve as a baseline for future comparison with twin turbines in counter-rotating configurations.
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