Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

Small-Scale Wind Turbine Testing in Wind Tunnels Under Low Reynolds Number Conditions

[+] Author and Article Information
Kenneth W. Van Treuren

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Baylor University,
One Bear Place #97356,
Waco, TX 76798-7356
e-mail: Kenneth_Van_Treuren@baylor.edu

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received December 11, 2014; final manuscript received May 6, 2015; published online June 1, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Ryo Amano.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 137(5), 051208 (Sep 01, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-14-1403; doi: 10.1115/1.4030617 History: Received December 11, 2014; Revised May 06, 2015; Online June 01, 2015

Much of the aerodynamic design of wind turbines is accomplished using computational tools such as XFOIL. These codes are not robust enough for predicting performance under the low Reynolds numbers found with small-scale wind turbines. Wind tunnels can experimentally test wind turbine airfoils to determine lift and drag data over typical operating Reynolds numbers. They can also test complete small wind turbine systems to determine overall performance. For small-scale wind turbines, quality experimental airfoil data at the appropriate Reynolds numbers are necessary for accurate design and prediction of power production.

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Fig. 1

Lift and drag curves over a range of Reynolds numbers [8]

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Fig. 2

LS-1 laminar flow wind turbine airfoil [30]

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Fig. 3

Typical small-scale wind tunnel [18]

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Fig. 4

ACP Spyderfoam airfoil with epoxy finish [52]

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Fig. 6

Airfoil and test section with force balance [52]

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Fig. 7

Eppler 387 airfoil coefficient of (a) lift and (b) drag at a Reynolds number of 100,000 [53]

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Fig. 8

Dimensions of turbine and wind tunnel test section [19,54]

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Fig. 9

Printed wind turbine blades used in scaling tests with dovetail hub and showing different angles of twist for BET and BEMT blades [18,19]

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Fig. 10

S818 two blade tests with a variable TSR [54]

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Fig. 11

S818 performance for different blade sets at a constant TSR of 3 [54]

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Fig. 12

S818 data comparing a three-blade ridged configuration with a four-blade smooth configuration at a TSR of 3 [54]

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Fig. 13

Power coefficient versus TSR at U = 5.5 m/s [18]

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Fig. 14

Lift and drag curves for an S823 airfoil at Re = 200,000 [52]

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Fig. 15

Corrections to S823 airfoil data at Re = 200,000 [52]




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