The Performance & Flow Visualization Studies of Three dimensional (3-D) Wind Turbine Blade Models

  •  Sutrisno .    
  •  Prajitno .    
  •  Purnomo .    
  •  B.W. Setyawan    


The researches on the design of 3-D wind turbine blades have been received less attention so far even though 3-D blade products are widely sold. In the opposite, advanced researches in 3-D helicopter blade have been studied rigorously. Researches in wind turbine blade modeling are mostly assumed that blade span wise sections behaves as independent two dimensional (2-D) airfoils, implying that there is no exchange of momentum in the span wise direction. Further more flow visualization experiments are infrequently conducted.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the performance of 3-D wind turbine blade models with backward-forward swept and verify the flow patterns using flow visualization. In this research, the blade models are constructed based on the twist and chord distributions following Schmitz’s formula. Forward and backward swept are added to the wind turbine blades. It is hoped that the additional swept would enhance or diminish outward flow disturbance or stall development propagation on the span wise blade surfaces to give better blade design.

The performance of the 3-D wind turbine system models are measured by a torque meter, employing Prony’s braking system, and the 3-D flow patterns around the rotating blade models are investigated applying “tuft-visualization technique”, to study the appearance of laminar, separated and boundary layer flow patterns surrounding the 3-dimentional blade system.

For low speed wind turbines, Dumitrescu and Cardos (2011) have identified that stall spreads from the root of the rotating blade. In this study, it is found that for blades with (i) forward swept tip and backward swept root, the initial stall at the blade bottom would be amplified by concurrent strengthening flow due to  the backward swept root to create strong stall spreading outward, and therefore the blades gives lower performance. For blades with (ii) backward swept tip and forward swept root, the initial stall at the blade bottom would be weakened by opposite weakening flow due to the forward swept root, generate weak stall that tend to deteriorate. These blades have better performance.

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