Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines

Professor Luigi Martinelli, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University
Friend Center, 109
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 7:30pm

Rotors are the first key functional elements of many electric power generators: from gas to wind turbines. The aerodynamics and dynamics properties of rotors have a profound influence on the capability of the entire system to convert energy efficiently. 
In eolic or tidal devices, the swept area of the rotor captures the flow energy, and it would not be possible to understand the operations of a turbine without some knowledge of its aerodynamic characteristics. Also, the dynamic characteristics of rotors – although less evident – are equally important when one considers that the power input provided by the flow is often fluctuating and it must be converted into a torque as uniform as possible. 
I will review the main approaches to the theory for aerodynamic analysis of wind turbine rotors with particular emphasis on understanding the design constraints, and I will conclude discussing potential avenues for improvement afforded by advances in computational aerodynamics and engineering.