Wire mesh fences for manipulation of turbulence energy spectrum


Manipulation of turbulence within an atmospheric boundary layer flow by application of woven wire mesh fences is investigated. Turbulence properties behind fences of different porosities and mesh opening widths were determined from velocity measurements in a wind tunnel. It is found that with the application of a fence with a porosity of 0.46, the streamwise turbulence intensity can be reduced from the inflow level of 12.5%–8.8% and the integral length scale can be reduced from 380 to 270 mm. The results show that behind the mesh fences turbulence kinetic energy decays as a power law function of the downstream distance for all wire mesh fences tested in the wind tunnel. The decay rate of turbulence kinetic energy is faster, and a larger reduction in the integral length scale is achieved for fences with porosities between 0.46 and 0.64 compared to higher porosities of between 0.73 and 0.75. Porosity of the woven wire meshes is found to be the key parameter which influences their turbulence reduction performance. In the end, application of the wire mesh fences for reduction of wind loads on solar panels and heliostats is discussed. Evaluation of wind loads based on the reduction of turbulence intensity and integral length scale shows that up to 48% and 53% reduction in peak drag and lift forces on a heliostat, respectively, can be achieved with application of mesh fences.

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\(A\) :

Panel area (m2)

\(C_{D} ,C_{L}\) :

Drag and lift force coefficients

\(C_{\varepsilon }\) :

Dissipation coefficient

\(d\) :

Wire diameter (mm)

\(f\) :

Frequency (Hz)

\(F_{D} ,F_{L}\) :

Drag and lift forces (N)

\(H\) :

Height of fence (m)

\(I_{u} ,I_{v} ,I_{w}\) :

Streamwise, lateral and vertical turbulence intensities (%)

\(k\) :

Turbulent kinetic energy (J/kg)

\(L_{u}^{x} ,L_{w}^{x}\) :

Longitudinal and vertical integral length scales (m)

\(M\) :

Mesh opening width (mm)

\({\text{Re}}_{d}\) :

Reynolds number based on wire diameter

\(S_{uu} ,S_{ww}\) :

Power spectral density of the streamwise and vertical velocity fluctuations (m2/s)

\(u, v, w\) :

Absolute velocity components in the \(x - , y - , z -\) flow directions, respectively (m/s)

\(u^{\prime}\) :

Root mean square of streamwise velocity fluctuations (m/s)

\(U\) :

Time averaged mean streamwise velocity (m/s)

\(U_{\infty }\) :

Free-stream velocity (m/s)

\(x, y, z\) :

Distance in the streamwise, lateral and vertical directions (m

\(\alpha , \beta\) :

Power law exponents of turbulence decay rate

\(\delta\) :

Boundary layer thickness (m)

\(\epsilon\) :

Dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy (m2/s3)

\(\rho\) :

Density (kg/m3)

\(\sigma_{u} ,\sigma_{u} ,\sigma_{w}\) :

Standard deviation of streamwise, lateral and vertical velocity components (m/s)

\(\phi\) :

Fence porosity


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Financial support for the project has been provided by the Australian Government Research Training Program, the University of Adelaide Scholarship and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) through Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI). The authors would like to acknowledge the School of Mechanical Engineering and the workshops at the University of Adelaide.

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Correspondence to Azadeh Jafari.

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Jafari, A., Emes, M., Cazzolato, B. et al. Wire mesh fences for manipulation of turbulence energy spectrum. Exp Fluids 62, 30 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00348-021-03133-7

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