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Wind Turbine Aerodynamics: Some History and Some Recent Advances

Date: February 17, 2015

Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Engineering Quadrangle, Room J223

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering presents “Wind Turbine Aerodynamics: Some History and Some Recent Advances” with Professor David Wood of the University of Calgary.

The contributions of the Russian scientist Nicholai Joukowsky to aerodymanics around the turn of the 20th century are not widely appreciated. For example, he and not Kutta, derived the Kutta-Joukowsky theorem for airfoil lift and he also independently derived the Betz limit on wind turbine power output. The talk will start with a review of some of Joukowsky’s work and then consider optimal wind turbine performance. This is usually done using Goldstein’s conformal mapping analysis which is complex and difficult to use. The biggest differences between optimal performance and the Betz-Joukowsky limit occur at low tip speed ratios. When this ratio is zero, i.e. the blades are stationary, the problem can be solved using classical lifting line analysis as developed by Munk and Prandtl for aircraft wings. The development of this analysis will be described, including current attempts to extend it to finite but small tip speed ratios.

David Wood has been the NSERC/ENMAX Professor of Renewable Energy at the University of Calgary since 2010.  Previously he owned a company, Aerogenesis, that developed small wind turbine technology which he started after many years teaching at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He obtained his bachelors and masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sydney and his Ph.D. in aeronuatics from Imperial College, London.  He is an editor of the journal Wind Engineering, and a member of the editorial board of Renewables: Water, Wind and Solar, a new Springer on-line journal.