Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Lian, Yongsheng


Aerofoils; Wind turbines--Aerodynamics


Wind energy provides an attractive power source as an alternative to fossil fuels because it is abundant, clean, and produces no harmful emissions. To extract more energy from the wind we need to increase the wind turbine size. However, the increase in size has begun to reach a limit in terms of material composition and structural stability. To quell the trend of increasing size in wind power systems alternative wind turbine blade designs are investigated and evaluated to increase power production and efficiency of present size machines. Flat back airfoils have been proposed for the inboard region of large wind turbine blades because they provide structural and aerodynamic advantages. In this work we will investigate the aerodynamic performance of flat back airfoils with computational fluid dynamics techniques. To reduce the drag and noise inherent from the blunt trailing edge, a splitter plate with varying lengths is added to the trailing edge of the airfoils. Comparisons are made with experimental data. Excellent agreement is achieved with the measurements. Our numerical simulations show that the flat back airfoil can increase lift production as much as 20%. The splitter can effectively reduce drag by as much as 20% and tonal noise by as much as 20 dB.