Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Michael Vera, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

This project looks into the potential of simplified simulations as a supplement to wind turbine blade designs. The idea is to take a two-dimensional representation of a wind turbine blade and attempt to use a fluid flow simulation to determine which "aspect ratio" is the most efficient in the transfer of momentum. This is then compared to the current requirements for wind turbine blades to judge how accurate the simulation was. It was found that an aspect ratio of 16.66 percent was most efficient, however when compared to the requirements for a wind turbine blade this ratio only falls into the requirements for a wind turbine tip. The largest reason for a disparity is due to the research not considering the requirements for the load that parts of the blade must hold, which means that the root section and wing section, to an extent, sacrifice efficiency in order to be able to hold the necessary weight. Due to this, the simulation tested here is insufficient for testing a root or blade section. However if the load-bearing requirement was taken care of in the design process or if the design being tested does not have such a requirement, then a simple simulation is sufficient for testing efficiency.

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