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Development of a Wind Tunnel Test Apparatus for Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine Rotor Testing

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael McWillam, David Johnson

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Paper No. ES2008-54194, pp. 679-687; 9 pages
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the Heat Transfer, Fluids Engineering, and 3rd Energy Nanotechnology Conferences
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Volume 2
  • Jacksonville, Florida, USA, August 10–14, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division and Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4320-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3832-3
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The engineering of wind turbines is not fully mature. There are still phenomena, particularly dynamic stall that cannot be accurately modeled. Dynamic stall contributes to fatigue stress and premature failure in many turbine components. The three dimensionality of dynamic stall make these structures unique for wind turbines. Currently flow visualization of dynamic stall on a wind turbine rotor has not been achieved, but these visualizations can reveal a great deal about the structures that contribute to dynamic stall. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is a powerful experimental technique that can take non-intrusive flow measurements of planar flow simultaneously. High-speed cameras enable time resolved PIV can reveal the transient development. This technique is suited to gain a better understanding of dynamic stall. A custom 3.27 m diameter wind turbine has been built to allow such measurements on the blade. The camera is mounted on the hub and will take measurements within the rotating domain. Mirrors are used so that laser illumination rotates with the blade. The wind turbine will operate in controlled conditions provided by a large wind tunnel. High-speed pressure data acquisition will be used in conjunction with PIV to get an understanding of the forces associated with the flow structures. Many experiments will be made possible by this apparatus. First the flow structures responsible for the forces can be identified. Quantitative measurements of the flow field will identify the development of the stall vortex. The quantified flow structures can be used to verify and improve models. The spatial resolution of PIV can map the three dimensional structure in great detail. The experimental apparatus is independent of the blade geometry; as such multiple blades can be used to identify the effect of blade geometry. Finally flow control research in the field of aviation can be applied to control dynamic stall. These experiments will be subject of much of the future work at the University of Waterloo. Potentially this work will unlock the secrets of dynamic stall and improve the integrity of wind turbines.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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