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Coupling Abaqus with an aeroedynamic code - PART 2

In a previous post some months ago (see here), I mentioned some of the questions I had considering the aeroelastic response of a wind turbine rotor. In this post I just want to give, for those interested, a brief status report.

The problem at hand required to couple an existing Abaqus 3D blade model (composite blade built from shell elements: S4R and S3) to a simple aerodynamic code called BEM (blade element momentum theory). BEM is used quite often within the wind turbine industry and research field to compute the aerodynamic forces on a wind turbine rotor. The aeroelastic problem (coupled aero-structure interactions) required that the aerodynamic forces and structural deformations should interacting till convergence (aerodynamic force influence the deformations and deformations influences aerodynamic forces and so forth).

In the end I chose to use the Python scripting interface to manipulate Abaqus an the BEM code (WT_Perf from NREL, see here for more information). A rough sketch of the procedure (written in Python):

  1. read the Abaqus blade state: chord length, twist angle (with respect to the rotor plane)
  2. format blade state to WT_Perf input file
  3. execute the aerodynamic BEM code (WT_Perf)
  4. read the WT_Perf output file (forces)
  5. apply the forces on the Abaqus model
  6. execute Abaqus analysis

    this is the first iteration

  7. read the Abaqus blade state
  8. check if new deformed state is converged with respect to previous state (if yes, abort analysis)
  9. format blade state to WT_Perf input file
  10. execute the aeroedynamic BEM code (WT_Perf)
  11. read the WT_Perf output file (forces)
  12. set the Abaqus model as restart analysis and create a new step
  13. update the forces in the newly created step
  14. restart the analysis at the end of the previous step
  15. go back to step 7

If you are interested in this topic and need more information on how certain aspects are tackled, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Dear David,

I am Weifei Hu studying at the University of Iowa. Recently, I am working on how to parameterize the wind turbine blade into Abaqus and also very interested in coupling BEM in to the blade model in Abaqus. I guess what you did the quasi-steady analysis of the blade loaded by aerodynamic loads. Those loads are calculated by the BEM. I am wondering if you change the chord length and twist angle of the airfoil, can you change the blade model automatically? And do you need to remesh the FE model before doing the structural analysis? If you see the message, could you please send me a message. Look forward to that! My email is:



name is Eric Robinson, I'm a graduate student at the University of Wyoming. I'm
currently working on a computational model similar to yours so to understand
aeroelastic wind turbine blade behavior. From your thesis work, how were you able
to find the deltaZ and deltaY values for your aerodynamic moment correction
value. Is there a way in Abaqus to place reference points at the quarter cord
(aerodynamic center) so to use your python script to determine deltaZ and



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