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

1 Citation (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


The Zuppinger water wheel, developed in the 1850s, is one of the most efficient water wheels and is commonly used for low-head hydropower generation. The high efficiencies of the wheel over a wide operating range, its simplicity in design and slow rotational speed offer a low-cost and environmentally friendly low-head hydropower solution. A physical and numerical model study of a wheel is presented in this paper. Three-dimensional numerical simulations were performed using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code Flow-3D. The influence of grid size on the results of the numerical model was assessed using a systematic grid refinement study. Grid convergence indices (GCIs) were calculated for two grid sets each, with three different grid sizes, using a constant grid refinement ratio. The GCIs were reduced to levels below 5% for the selected quantities of interest. The CFD model results were compared with physical model results at different operating points of the wheel. The maximum differences in power output and efficiency between the physical and numerical model results were 2.5% and 8%, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-216
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Water Management
Issue number4
Early online date11 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • modelling
  • renewable energy
  • hydraulics & hydrodynamics


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