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Blade sections for wind turbine and tidal current turbine applications – current status and future challenges

Ahmed, Mohammed R. (2012) Blade sections for wind turbine and tidal current turbine applications – current status and future challenges. International Journal of Energy Research, 36 (7). pp. 829-844. ISSN 0363-907X

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The designers of horizontal axis wind turbines and tidal current turbines are increasingly focusing their attention on the design of blade sections appropriate for specific applications. In modern large wind turbines, the blade tip is designed using a thin airfoil for high lift : drag ratio, and the root region is designed using a thick version of the same airfoil for structural support. A high lift to drag ratio is a generally accepted requirement; however, although a reduction in the drag coefficient directly contributes to a higher aerodynamic efficiency, an increase in the lift coefficient does not have a significant contribution to the torque, as it is only a small component of lift that increases the tangential force while the larger component increases the thrust, necessitating an optimization. An airfoil with a curvature close to the leading edge that contributes more to the rotation will be a good choice; however, it is still a challenge to design such an airfoil. The design of special purpose airfoils started with LS and SERI airfoils, which are followed by many series of airfoils, including the new CAS airfoils. After nearly two decades of extensive research, a number of airfoils are available; however, majority of them are thick airfoils as the strength is still a major concern. Many of these still show deterioration in performance with leading edge contamination. Similarly, a change in the freestream turbulence level affects the performance of the blade. A number of active and passive flow control devices have been proposed and tested to improve the performance of blades/turbines. The structural requirements for tidal current turbines tend to lead to thicker sections, particularly near the root, which will cause a higher drag coefficient. A bigger challenge in the design of blades for these turbines is to avoid cavitation (which also leads to thicker sections) and still obtain an acceptably high lift coefficient. Another challenge for the designers is to design blades that give consistent output at varying flow conditions with a simple control system. The performance of a rotating blade may be significantly different from a non-rotating blade, which requires that the design process should continue till the blade is tested under different operating conditions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Engineering and Physics
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2012 23:04
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2016 22:05

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