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Renewable energy science fair project:
The effect of blade number, pitch, design and wind speed on the electricity produced
by a Darrieus-type vertical axis wind turbine




Science Fair Project Information
Title: Determine the effect of the number of blades, pitch and the design of the blades on the electricity produced by a Darrieus-type vertical axis wind turbine at low, medium and high wind speeds.
Subject: Renewable Energy
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Medium
Awards: 1st place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($400)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2010
Materials: fan with 3 different wind speeds, compass, oscilloscope.
Description: A homemade Darrieus-type vertical axis wind turbine was used for a few experiments: 1. the turbine was tested with three, four and five blades; 2. the leading edges of the blades were pitched at 10, 20, and 30 inwards, and outwards; 3. blades with different designs were used; helical, bird wing design, pterodactyl wing design. Voltages of each instance were recorded, tabulated and graphed.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2010/clarxs2
Short Background

Darrieus Wind Turbine

The Darrieus wind turbine is a type of vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) used to generate electricity from the energy carried in the wind. The turbine consists of a number of aerofoils usually--but not always--vertically mounted on a rotating shaft or framework. This design of wind turbine was patented by Georges Jean Marie Darrieus, a French aeronautical engineer in 1931.

The Darrieus type is theoretically just as efficient as the propeller type if wind speed is constant, but in practice this efficiency is rarely realised due to the physical stresses and limitations imposed by a practical design and wind speed variation. There are also major difficulties in protecting the Darrieus turbine from extreme wind conditions and in making it self-starting.

Vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are a type of wind turbine where the main rotor shaft is set vertically. Among the advantages of this arrangement are that generators and gearboxes can be placed close to the ground, and that VAWTs do not need to be pointed into the wind. Major drawbacks for the early designs (Savonius, Darrieus, giromill and cycloturbine) included the pulsatory torque that can be produced during each revolution and the huge bending moments on the blades. Later designs solved the torque issue by using the helical twist of the blades almost similar to Gorlov's water turbines.

See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darrieus_wind_turbine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_axis_wind_turbine

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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