Optimizing the Layout of Heaters for Distributed Active De-Icing of Wind Turbine Blades Journal Article uri icon



  • Ice accumulation on wind turbines operating in cold regions reduces power generation by degrading aerodynamic efficiency and causes mass imbalance and fatigue loads on the blades. Due to blade rotation and variation of the pitch angle, different locations on each blade experience large variations of Reynolds number, Nusselt number, heat loss, and non-uniform ice distribution. Hence, applying different amounts of heat flux in different blade locations can provide more effective de-icing for the same total power consumption. This large variation of required heat flux highly motivates using distributed resistive heating with the capability of locally adjusting thermal power as a function of location on the blade. To optimize thermal actuation strategy, improving de-icing efficiency, and reducing power consumption, development of a numerical model was investigated for distributed resistive heaters using a computational approach with ANSYS. The numerical model was validated with experimental results. Then, ice melting was modeled on the blade for different heater layouts (aligned and staggered) and geometries. The result of this study showed more uniform and 40% faster de-icing, with approximately 30% reduction in the maximum applied temperature to the blade structure for circular heaters compared to square heaters. Furthermore, aligned heaters create relatively higher thermal stress to the blade structure than staggered heaters. This computational model can be used for the development of a pseudo-analytical aero-thermodynamic model for closed-loop active de-icing using distributed resistive heating on wind turbines and aircraft.

publication date

  • December 1, 2014

Full Author List

  • Shajiee S; Pao LY; McLeod RR

Other Profiles

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 587

end page

  • 600


  • 38


  • 6