Development of a Wind Tunnel Test Apparatus for Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine Rotor Testing
McWilliam, Michael Kenneth
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Currently, wind energy presents an excellent opportunity to satisfy the growing demand without the supply and environmental problems associated with conventional energy. The engineering in wind turbines is not fully mature. There are still phenomenon, particularly dynamic stall, that cannot accurately be modeled or controlled. Dynamic stall contributes to fatigue stress and premature failure in many turbine components. The three dimensionality of dynamic stall makes these structures unique for wind turbines. Currently, flow visualization of dynamic stall on a wind turbine rotor has not been achieved. These visualizations can reveal a lot about the structures that contribute to dynamic stall. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is a powerful experimental technique that can take multiple non-intrusive flow measurements simultaneously of planar flow. Using high-speed cameras time resolved PIV can reveal the transient development of a given flow field. This technique is ideally suited to gain a better understanding of dynamic stall. A custom wind turbine is being built at the University of Waterloo to allow such measurements on the blade. A high speed camera is mounted on the hub and will take measurements within the rotating domain. Mirrors are used so that laser illumination rotates with the blade. The wind turbine will operate in controlled conditions provided by a large wind tunnel. High speed pressure data acquisition will be used in conjunction with PIV to get an understanding of the forces associated with the flow structures. Computational fluid dynamics was used to size the rotor within the wind tunnel. Laser based measurements required special considerations for stiffness. Many revealing experiments will be made possible by this apparatus. First, the flow structures responsible for the various forces can be identified. Quantitative measurements of the flow field will identify the development of the stall vortex. The quantified flow structures can be used verify and improve models. The high spatial resolution of PIV can map the three dimensional flow structure in great detail. The experimental apparatus is independent of the blade geometry, as such multiple blades can be used to identify the effect of blade geometry. Finally flow control research in the field of aviation can be applied to control dynamic stall.