Wind Turbine Aerodynamics

I’ll be making a series of posts over the next several days exploring wind turbine aerodynamics with the WindPitch WP-1, a miniature horizontal-axis wind turbine. My goal is to both theoretically and computationally explore the performance of the miniature wind turbine. As far as theory is concerned, I’ll be using the blade element momentum theory to analyze performance. Then, I’ll use ANSYS Fluent to analyze performance using computational fluid dynamics. Lastly, I will compare the theoretical and computational results with the data on the power output I’ve already collected with respect to different blade geometries, number of blades, pitch angle, and wind speed.

The kit comes with four different types of blades: a thin, sheet blade (BS-31); a blade from a model helicopter (BP-28); and two blades whose airfoils are actually used in wind turbines, the BP-44 consisting of NACA 44xx series airfoils and the BP-63 blade consisting of NACA 63-2xx series airfoils. I will be focusing on the BP-44 and BP-63 blades as I was able to obtain the necessary data to accurately produce a CAD model. The BP-28 blade I only have the airfoil shape for; hence, I will not be able to do a full analysis. Lastly, I’ll provide an analysis of the BS-31 blades, but that analysis will be limited to a single pitch angle as they are not adjustable like the BP-44 and BP-63 blades.