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Hybrid Polymer Additive Manufacturing of a Darrieus Type Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Design to Improve Power Generation Efficiency

[+] Author Affiliations
Sourabh Deshpande, Nithin Rao, Nitin Pradhan, John L. Irwin

Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

Paper No. IMECE2016-65910, pp. V002T02A062; 9 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Advanced Manufacturing
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5052-7
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Utilizing the advantages of additive manufacturing methods, redesigning, building and testing of an existing integral Savonius / Darrieus “Lenz2 Wing” style vertical axis wind turbine is predicted to improve power generation efficiency. The current wind turbine blades and supports made from aluminum plate and sheet are limiting the power generation due to the overall weight. The new design is predicted to increase power generation when compared to the current design due to the lightweight spiral Darrieus shaped hollow blade made possible by 3D printing, along with an internal Savonius blade made from aluminum sheet and traditional manufacturing techniques. The design constraints include 3D printing the turbine blades in a 0.4 × 0.4 × 0.3 m work envelope while using a Stratasys Fortus 400mc and thus the wind turbine blades are split into multiple parts with dovetail joint features, when bonded together result in a 1.2 m tall working prototype. Appropriate allowance in the mating dovetail joints are considered to facilitate the fit and bonding, as well as angle, size and placement of the dovetail to maximize strength. The spiral shape and Darrieus style cross section of the blade that provides the required lift enabling it to rotate from the static condition are oriented laterally for 3D printing to maximize strength. The bonding of the dovetail joints is carried out effectively using an acetone solution dip. The auxiliary components of the wind turbine which include the center support pole, top and bottom support, and center Savonius blades are manufactured using lightweight aluminum. Design features are included in the 3D printed blade parts so that they can be assembled with the aluminum parts in bolted connections. Analysis of the 3D CAD models show that the hybrid aluminum and hollow 3D printed blade construction provides a 50% cost savings over a 3D printed fully solid blade design while minimizing weight and maximizing the strength where necessary. Analysis of the redesign includes a detailed weight comparison, structural strength and the cost of production. Results include linear static finite element analysis for the strength in dovetail joint bonding and the aluminum to 3D printed connections. Additional data reported are the time frame for the design and manufacturing of the system, budget, and an operational analysis of the wind turbine with concern for safety. Results are analyzed to determine the advantages in utilizing a hybrid additive manufacturing and aluminum construction for producing a more efficient vertical axis wind turbine. Techniques used in the production of this type of wind turbine blade are planned to be utilized in similar applications such as a lightweight hovercraft propeller blade design to be tested in future research projects.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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