Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Wind Tunnel Testing of Microtabs and Microjets for Active Load Control of Wind Turbine Blades
by Cooperman, Aubryn Murray, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2012, 95; 3555290
Abstract (Summary)

Increases in wind turbine size have made controlling loads on the blades an important consideration for future turbine designs. One approach that could reduce extreme loads and minimize load variation is to incorporate active control devices into the blades that are able to change the aerodynamic forces acting on the turbine. A wind tunnel model has been constructed to allow testing of different active aerodynamic load control devices. Two such devices have been tested in the UC Davis Aeronautical Wind Tunnel: microtabs and microjets. Microtabs are small surfaces oriented perpendicular to an airfoil surface that can be deployed and retracted to alter the lift coefficient of the airfoil. Microjets produce similar effects using air blown perpendicular to the airfoil surface. Results are presented here for both static and dynamic performance of the two devices. Microtabs, located at 95% chord on the lower surface and 90% chord on the upper surface, with a height of 1% chord, produce a change in the lift coefficient of 0.18, increasing lift when deployed on the lower surface and decreasing lift when deployed on the upper surface. Microjets with a momentum coefficient of 0.006 at the same locations produce a change in the lift coefficient of 0.19. The activation time for both devices is less than 0.3 s, which is rapid compared to typical gust rise times.

The potential of active device to mitigate changes in loads was tested using simulated gusts. The gusts were produced in the wind tunnel by accelerating the test section air speed at rates of up to 7 ft/s 2. Open-loop control of microtabs was tested in two modes: simultaneous and sequential tab deployment. Activating all tabs along the model span simultaneously was found to produce a change in the loads that occurred more rapidly than a gust. Sequential tab deployment more closely matched the rates of change due to gusts and tab deployment. A closed-loop control system was developed for the microtabs using a simple feedback control based on lift measurements from a six-component balance. An alternative input to the control system that would be easier to implement on a turbine was also investigated: the lift force was estimated using the difference in surface pressure at 15% chord. Both control system approaches were found to decrease lift deviations by around 50% during rapid changes in the free stream air speed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dam, Case P. van
Commitee: Berg, Dale E., Delplanque, Jean-Pierre
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Alternative Energy, Aerospace engineering, Energy
Keywords: Load control, Microjets, Microtabs, Turbine blades, Wind tunnel, Wind turbines
Publication Number: 3555290
ISBN: 9781267967886
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