Experimental and numerical study of Zuppinger water wheel model

Shakun Paudel*, Martin Weber, Dirk Geyer, Nicole Saenger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zuppinger wheel is one of the most efficient water wheels developed in the 1850s. It has been commonly used for low-head hydropower generation. The high efficiencies of the wheel over a wide operating range, its simplicity in design, and the slow rotational speed offer a low-cost and environment-friendly low-head hydropower solution. In this paper, a physical and numerical model study of a Zuppinger water wheel is presented. Three-dimensional numerical simulations are performed using a Computational FluidDynamics (CFD) code Flow-3D. The influence of grid size on the numerical model results is assessed using a systematic grid refinement study. Grid Convergence Indices (GCI) are calculated on two grid sets each with three different grid sizes using a constant grid refinement ratio. The GCI values are reduced to levels below 5% for the selected quantities of interest. CFD model results are compared with the physical model results at different operating points of the wheel. The maximum difference in power output and efficiency between the physical and numerical model results are 2.5% and 8% respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Water Management
Early online date11 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Oct 2021


  • modelling
  • renewable energy
  • hydraulics & hydrodynamics


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