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Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939

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Renewable Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/renene

Effect of solidity on aerodynamic forces around straight-bladed


vertical axis wind turbine by wind tunnel experiments (depending on
number of blades)
Qingan Li a, *, Takao Maeda b, Yasunari Kamada b, Junsuke Murata b, Kento Shimizu b,
Tatsuhiko Ogasawara b, Alisa Nakai b, Takuji Kasuya b
a
Division of System Engineering, Mie University, 1577 Kurimamachiya-cho, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan
b
Division of Mechanical Engineering, Mie University, 1577 Kurimamachiya-cho, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The prediction of aerodynamic forces around straight-bladed Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) is
Received 23 March 2015 important for wind turbine applications. This paper focused on evaluating the aerodynamic forces acting
Received in revised form on a single blade, depending on the different numbers of blades in wind tunnel experiments. In this
28 March 2016
study, numbers of blades were from two to ve and the cross-sectional shape of the tested airfoil was a
Accepted 15 May 2016
Available online 24 May 2016
NACA0021. Firstly, the power coefcient was measured by a torque meter and a six-component balance.
Secondly, pressures acting on the surface of rotor blades were measured during rotation by multiport
pressure devices. Then, the evolutions of normal coefcient, tangential coefcient and lift-to-drag ratio
Keywords:
Wind turbine
CL/CD, which were obtained from pressure distributions, were discussed. Finally, the power coefcients
Pressure distributions calculated by pressure distributions were compared with the experiment data of the torque meter and
Numbers of blades the six-component balance. The results showed that the pressure difference substantially decreased with
Six-component balance the increase of solidity. In addition, the values of six-component balance and torque meter showed
Wind tunnel experiments smaller values than those calculated by pressure distributions. In words, these results provided theo-
retical signicance towards the development of a simple design for straight-bladed VAWT.
2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction mechanism for the inow. Besides, they can be applied in remote
areas such as in street lighting and an independent power gener-
In recent years, the use of wind turbines has risen rapidly for its ation system for families [12]. All these advantages have driven
potential in power generation since wind energy resources are many universities and researchers to study this type of VAWT. IEC
unaffected by environmental pollution and economic insecurity 61400-2 [13] and JSWTA 0001 [14] have a very good description of
[1e4]. Wind turbines are classied into HAWTs (horizontal axis simple design equations of performance and safety standards of
wind turbines) and VAWTs (vertical axis wind turbines) based on small HAWTs [15]. However, the development of the aerodynamic
their axis of rotation. HAWTs are better suited for large scale energy performance and safety standards for small HAWTs is not suitable
generation on at land and in mountainous terrain, while VAWTs in the case of VAWTs. The reason is that the two turbines are totally
are better suited for small scale energy generation in urban regions different. As shown in Fig. 1, the directions of the loads for the blade,
[5e9]. support structure, and rotor shaft of the straight-bladed VAWT
The straight-bladed VAWT is distinguished by its simplicity and represent different coordinate systems. Furthermore, for VAWTs,
relatively low manufacturing cost. In urban regions, wind ow the wind ows into the rotor surface, causing disturbed ow in the
continuously changes direction and is also extremely turbulent downstream region so that large uctuation torque is generated.
[10,11]. Therefore, VAWTs potentially perform better in urban re- Therefore, the performance of VAWT mainly depends on wind ow,
gions than HAWTs due to the fact that VAWTs do not require a yaw airfoil type, turbulence intensity, pitch angle, number of blades and
so on [16e20]. In order to have a good master of its operating
principle and understand better the inuence of different design
* Corresponding author. , parameters on its performance, experimental tests are generally
E-mail addresses: 434687517@qq.com, li@fel.mach.mie-u.ac.jp (Q. Li).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2016.05.054
0960-1481/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939 929

Nomenclature pref maximum dynamic pressure attached the surface of


blade [Pa]
A swept area of wind turbine [m2] Power power output (W)
c blade chord length (0.265) [m] Q rotor torque [N m]
CD drag coefcient (FD/(0.5rc U02 )) R rotor radius (1.0) [m]
CL lift coefcient (FL/(0.5r c U02 )) Re local Reynolds number [ Wc/n]
CL/CD lift-to-drag ratio U0 free stream wind velocity [m/s]
Cp pressure coefcient (P/(0.5r U02 )) U local wind velocity [m/s]
Cpower power coefcient (Qu/(0.5rDH U03 )) W resultant velocity to blade [m/s]
CQ torque coefcient (Q/(0.5rDHR U02 )) V tip speed of blade (Ru) [m/s]
CN normal force coefcient (FN/(0.5rc U02 )) x longitudinal coordinate [m]
CT tangential force coefcient (FT/(0.5rc U02 )) y lateral coordinate [m]
D rotor diameter (2.0) [m] z vertical coordinate [m]
FD drag force per unit length [N] a angle of attack [ ]
FL lift force per unit length [N] b blade pitch angle [ ]
FN normal force per unit length [N] f angle of resultant velocity to the blade [ ]
FT tangential force per unit length [N] q Azimuth angle [ ]
Fx thrust force per unit length [N] l tip speed ratio (Ru/U0)
H span length of blade (1.2) [m] n kinematic viscosity [m2/s]
N numbers of blade (2e5) r air density [kg/m3]
P pressure acting on the surface of blade [Pa] s solidity (Nc/pD)
u angular velocity of rotor [rad/s]

used and have made remarkable achievements recently. the wind velocity was higher, the power performance of VAWT was
Armstrong S. et al. [21] investigated the effect of airfoil type and better. The measurements also indicated that wind turbine with
blade pitch angle on the power performance and ow character- higher wind velocity had higher optimum power coefcient and
istics in wind tunnel experiments. The results showed that, lower optimum tip speed ratio. And then, Li Q. et al. [32] and
compared with straight blades, the installation of fences on the Carpman N [33] further discussed the power performance with
canted blades increased the maximum power coefcient and different turbulence intensities. As shown from their research, for
reduced the optimum tip speed ratio, suggestive of a reduction in low tip speed ratios, the output power uctuated slightly with the
spanwise ow on the swept blades. Besides, the effect of blade pitch increase of turbulence intensity. Meanwhile, for high tip speed
angle was also presented. It was noted that the uctuations of ratios, output power increased as turbulence intensity was raised.
power coefcient appeared to be slightly dependent on blade pitch In order to determine the optimum variation, El-Samanoudy M.
angles. The results were also reported in literature of Li Q. et al. et al. [18] studied the effect of the design parameters, such as tur-
[22,23], Staelens et al. [24], Fiedler A. et al. [25], In SH. et al. [26] and bine radius, airfoil type and chord length, with some experimental
Paraschivoiu I. et al. [16]. In order to have a better understanding of data for comparison and analysis. What the obtained results
aerodynamic performance prediction of Straight-bladed VAWT in showed that when the turbine radius was decreased, the perfor-
the spanwise direction, Li Q. et al. [27] investigated the pressure mance was decreased greatly, showing a signicant effect of the
acting on the blade surface in the different cross-sections, turbine radius. Similar results have been investigated by Beri H.
depending on the pressure measurement system and CFD ana- et al. [34], Siddiqui M S. et al. [35] and Ismail MF. et al. [36].
lyses. They found that the power coefcient illustrated the Meanwhile, it was found that symmetrical airfoils had higher po-
maximum value at the blade central height, and gradually wer coefcient values compared with that of cambered airfoils.
decreased when approaching the blade tip. There was a much larger drag coefcient in performance results
The effect of wind velocity was studied by Song SH. et al. [28], Li from using cambered airfoils instead of symmetrical airfoils. Cas-
Q. et al. [29], Islam M. et al. [30] and Ohlmann HA. et al. [31]. From telli MR. et al. [37], Saeed F. et al. [38], as well as Ismail MF. et al. [36]
these studies, it was found that, at the same tip speed ratio, when also arrived at the similar results by wind tunnel experiments or

Fig. 1. Blade load in the ap direction of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines.


930 Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939

CFD simulations. In addition, in the research of El-Samanoudy M., it


was noted that the increase of the chord length had a signicant
effect in improving power performance. Ferreira CS. et al. [39] and
Ali AM. et al. [40] also came to the same conclusion as that of El-
Samanoudy M.
Many researchers focusing on the aerodynamic phenomena of
VAWT performance and ow eld characteristics concluded that
the phenomena were inuenced by the number of blades. Marco
RC. et al. [41] compared the uctuation of torque coefcient against
azimuth angle during the rotation by increasing the number of
blades with a CFD model. As can be seen from their study, it was
important to note that with the increase of number of blades the
torque coefcient peak became lower and the frequency of the
oscillations in the torque was increased. The peak of power coef-
cient took maximum value in the upstream region for azimuthal
positions where rotor blades were experiencing very high relative
angles of attack. This result is similar to the investigations by Roh
SC. et al. [42] and Li S. et al. [43]. Li Q. et al. [29] further studied the
characteristics of ow eld around straight-bladed VAWT at Fig. 2. Schematic diagram of experimental apparatus in this research.
different numbers of blades by Laser Doppler Velocimeter system
in wind tunnel experiments. The authors found that an increase in
number of blades promoted the expansion of wake decit area and the wind turbine.
recovery of wind velocity. Similar results have also been investi- The coordinate system was dened as a Cartesian frame, with
gated by Tescione G. et al. [44], Rolin V. et al. [45] as well as origin at the turbine center, x-axis directed positively downwind
Scheurich F. et al. [46] by CFD simulation. However, these recent the turbine, positive y-axis pointing to the windward side and
studies were mainly done with CFD. Little work has been carried positive z-axis upwards. The rotation direction of the blade was
out to discuss the effects of VAWT aerodynamic forces on the clockwise when viewed from the top of wind turbine.
number of blades in wind tunnel experiments.
As previously described, no studies were carried out to deter- 2.2. Wind tunnel
mine the effects of the number of blades on aerodynamic force,
neither did they take into account the inuence of the support The wind tunnel experiments were carried out at the Fluid
structure and shaft. For this study, multiport pressure devices were Engineering Laboratory for Energy and Environment at Mie Uni-
used on a single blade of a straight-bladed VAWT in wind tunnel versity in JAPAN. The large wind tunnel was an open test section of
experiments. The aerodynamic performance investigated different a circular type wind tunnel with an outlet diameter of 3.6 m, which
numbers of blades during rotation by directly measuring the is illustrated in Fig. 3. The components of wind tunnel in this
pressure acting on the blade surface. Accordingly, the effects of experiment were shown as the following:
different parameter variations (such as the azimuth angle q, the tip Blower: A double suction centrifugal blower was used with a
speed ratio l, solidity s and Reynolds number Re) on the perfor- function of 400 kW-8P and its maximum rotational speed was
mance of the VAWT were investigated. Meanwhile, this paper 900 rpm.
attempted to determine the variations which would result in the Test section: The wind tunnel inlet size was 4.0 m  4.0 m and
best performance based on different performance parameters. In the length of test section was 4.5 m.
this way, this method is extremely important for the design and Wind velocity: The maximum wind velocity was 30 m/s by
optimization of a straight-bladed VAWT. blower. The turbulence intensity was less than 0.5% and the free
stream wind velocity reduced at the test section of the wind turbine
2. Experimental procedure was 1.2%, when the free stream wind velocity was set at 8.0 m/s.

2.1. Experimental apparatus


2.3. Wind turbine

In this research, the measurement of pressure acting on a single


The test straight-bladed VAWT model shown in Fig. 4 had the
rotor blade was conducted in 2D. The schematic diagram of the
whole wind tunnel experimental apparatus is indicated in Fig. 2.
The main measurements and experimental apparatus in this
experiment consisted of the following components:
Pitot tube: The freestream wind velocity was determined at the
wind tunnel outlet by using a Pitot tube survey installed at the
upstream of 2.07 m from the rotor shaft.
Torque meter: The rotor rotational speed and rotor torque of the
wind turbine could be measured by using a torque meter installed
in the rotor shaft of wind turbine.
Multiport pressure devices: Pressure distributions, which was
applied to the rotor surface, were analyzed by multiport pressure
devices in the span of airfoil center height.
Six-component balance: The forces and the moments applied to
the entire wind turbine in the x, y and z-axis directions are pre-
dicted using a six-component balance located in the basement of Fig. 3. Present large wind tunnel in three-dimensional view.
Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939 931

following components and parameters: calibration valve, a high speed multiplexer (45 kHz), and an
Blades: The airfoil used in this work was a symmetric prole instrumentation amplier.
NACA 0021 with a chord length of 0.265 m and a thickness of The pressure distributions acting on the airfoil surfaces are
0.056 m. captured by pressure sensor, and then transmitted through copper
Span length: The type of VAWT itself was straight-bladed design pipe and vacuum pipe. The detecting pressure signals in the
and the span length of the blade was 1.2 m. rotating system are transmitted to the stationary system by mul-
Number of blades: 2 to 5 blades were tested. tipoint pressure devices. The pressure transducer output is run
Diameter: The wind turbine diameter is 2.0 m, which gave a through wireless LAN which is installed on the upper rotation axis
projected area of 2.4 m2, a blade aspect ratio of 4.5 and a turbine and then is read by the computer A/D converter. This system works
aspect ratio of 1.67. in conjunction with computer software to automate the calibration
Blade pitch angle: The blade pitch angles are set at 6 , 8 , 8 and process. Calibration velocities are calculated from compressible gas
12 , for the number of blades of N 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively. The equations using differential pressure, barometric pressure, tem-
blade pitch angles are the optimum values, which has the perature, and gas constants.
maximum power coefcient when the number of blades was Model surface pressure measurements are sampled at the total
different. number of 10,000 and saved to a data le. Tunnel dynamic pres-
sures are sampled at every pressure tap to account for any uctu-
ation in tunnel velocity. Mean values, statistics, and turbulence
2.4. Multiport pressure devices quantities are then calculated from these components. Finally, the
computer software is then used to average the data, apply static
The airfoil model was equipped with 16 pressure taps on the pressure corrections and calculate force coefcients. In order to
suction side and 16 pressure taps on the pressure side, which examine uctuation of pressure distributions, for each 5 BIN
measured the chordwise pressure distributions on the airfoil sur- change of azimuth angle, the pressure measurement data are
faces. The pressure taps with diameters of 0.4 mm were perpen- averaged during one rotation.
dicularly drilled using ZOC22B modules, which incorporated with
32 individual piezoresistive pressure sensors. The acquisition of the
pressures was done by multipoint pressure devices. In this 2.5. Six-component balance
research, the steady pressure is done by a Scanivalve RAD 3200
pressure measurement system. Besides, the airfoil model was also The test straight-bladed VAWT model was placed on a six-
equipped with Scanivalve ZOC22B sub-miniature pressure trans- component balance, measuring three forces and three moments
ducers, which measured the dynamic pressure on the airfoil model applied to the entire wind turbine on x, y and z-axes. These quan-
surfaces. The detail information of RAD 3200 and ZOC22B are listed tities were used to quantify the thrust force Fx, the lateral force Fy,
as follows. the longitudinal force Fz, the rolling moment Mx, the bending
RAD 3200: It was powered by 15 Vdc. The maximum value of moment My and the tilting moment Mz. The accuracy of the force
channel inputs pressures will not exceed 512. The typical data balance was less than 0.2% during the rotation of the wind turbine
acquisition rate is 500 samples/sec. Operating temperature is from at design condition and the total error in the thrust force was al-
0 to 55 . ways less than 1.2%. The force balance was rotated a full 360 with
ZOC22B module: The ZOC22B is powered by 15 Vdc and the respect to the rotor axis.
pressure will not exceed 50 psi. The sampling frequency is 1250 Hz The azimuth angle q was dened as zero as shown in Fig. 5,
and the accuracy is 0.1%. The operating temperature is from 0 to when the blade was at the position moving towards the wind from
60 . The scan rate for standalone is 20 kHz. Each ZOC22B module the upstream side to the downstream side. In this study, the posi-
incorporated with 32 individual silicon pressure sensors, tive direction of azimuth angle was the same as the direction of

Fig. 4. Photo of test wind turbine and the airfoil in this research.
932 Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939

rotor rotation. Moreover, the azimuth angle was computed on the


basis of the reference signal by a photo sensor, which was attached
to the center of rotation. Just as pressure measurement data, the
forces data obtained from six-component balance were also aver-
aged at each azimuth angle of 5 .

3. Experimental methods

3.1. Power coefcient measurement

Wind turbine performance is usually characterized by its torque


coefcient, CQ, and power coefcient, Cpower. In this study, in order
to accurately investigate the performance of straight-bladed VAWT,
torque coefcient and power coefcient are measured by torque
meter (Eqs. (1) and (2)), six-component balance and pressure dis-
tributions (Eqs. (3) and (4)), which are calculated by the following
expressions, respectively.

Q Q
CQ (1)
0:5rAU02 R 0:5rDHU02 R

Power Qu Fig. 5. Denitions of various types of angles and resultant velocity relative to blade.
Cpower (2)
0:5rAU03 0:5rDHU03

8 9, from pressure distributions is dened as:


Q < R Z2p =  
CQ FT qdq 0:5rDHU02 R (3)
0:5rAU0 R :2p
2 ; s
0
2pref
W (5)
8 9, r
Power < Ru Z2p =  
Cpower FT qdq 0:5rDHU03 (4) where, pref is the maximum dynamic pressure attached the blade
0:5rAU03 :2p ;
0 surface.
where, For the symmetrical airfoil of NAVA0021, thus, the aerodynamic
center of blade is around 1/4 chord length. The external torque
Q is the rotor torque; caused by the uctuation of the aerodynamic center can be ignored
A is the swept area of the wind turbine, this area is equal to when the rotation center is at 1/4 chord length. The main aero-
(H  D); dynamic forces relative to the blade chord line are represented in
D is the rotor diameter of the wind turbine; Fig. 6. As shown in this gure, the force acting on a rotating blade
q is the free stream wind velocity; section at an arbitrary azimuth angle q is divided into the tangential
H is the hub height of the wind turbine; (FT) and the normal (FN) forces. From these relationships, in order to
R is the rotor radius of the wind turbine; quantitatively analyze the performance of VAWT, tangential coef-
r is the air density; cient CT, normal coefcient CN, lift coefcient CL and drag coef-
q is the azimuth angle; cient CD are shown as the following, respectively. By using pressure
FT is the tangential force; measurement results for tangential coefcient CT and normal co-
u is the angular velocity of the rotor. efcient CN, the lift and drag coefcients are computed according
to:

3.2. Data processing method


CL CT cosf  CN sin f (6)
As previously described, large uctuations of aerodynamic
forces are generated during rotation. These aerodynamic forces are
not completely independent but rather interlinked and interacted CD CN sin f  CT cosf (7)
with each other. The main disadvantage of straight-bladed VAWT is where.
that the drag forces largely uctuate when rotating into the wind
[14]. CT is the tangential coefcient;
In order to compute the lift and drag coefcients of the blade CN is the normal coefcient;
airfoil, it is necessary to consider the angle of attack a. In this study, CL is the lift coefcient;
it could be directly calculated by measuring the wind velocity in the CD is the drag coefcient;
ow eld by the Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV) system. A more f is the angle of resultant velocity to the blade chord line.
detailed description of the calculation process can be found in Li Q.
et al. [7,23,29]. According to Fig. 5, it appears that the angle of attack Solidity is one of the most important parameters that can affect
a is the angle between the airfoil cord and the relative velocity to the performance of straight-bladed VAWTs. The solidity s, states a
blade W. The resultant velocity W is the synthesis of the tip speed of relation between the blade area and the turbine swept area, which
blade V (V uR) and local wind velocity U. The resultant velocity W was dened as
Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939 933

a small value around the trailing edge at different solidities s and


Nc
s (8) Reynolds numbers Re. At the outer side of airfoil, the pressures
pD substantially decrease with the increase of chord station of x/c and
always illustrate positive pressure. At the inner side of airfoil, with
where s is the solidity and c is the blade chord length.
the increase of x/c, pressure coefcients come down and the peak
Reynolds number is also one of the main parameters dictating
values are obtained near the leading edge. Besides, it is noted that
rotational velocity and inow velocity at which the turbine reaches
the pressure coefcients present the negative values, especially
its maximum performance coefcient. The local Reynolds number
with the higher Reynolds number of Re 2.89  105 and the lower
Re relative to the blade chord line c is
solidity of s 0.084. The negative pressure makes great contri-
Wc bution to the lift, leading to negative lift and negative angle of
Re (9) attack. Furthermore, the maximum value of pressure difference
n
measured at Re 1.85  105 is larger than the values at
where Re is the local Reynolds number, n is the kinematic air Re 2.17  105 and 2.31  105. It seems that the angle of attack
viscosity. have a larger value when the tip speed ratio is l 1.39.
As shown in Fig. 7(b), suction steadily decreases in the leading
edge region with the increase of solidity for the azimuth angle of
4. Experimental results and discussion
90 . For the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211, the
maximum values are up to Cp 22.6, 17.1, 14.1 and 11.1,
4.1. Pressure distributions acting on the blade surface
respectively. In contrast, the maximum value of pressure difference
increases in the leading edge region with the increase of Reynolds
For each test case, pressure measurement experiments were
number Re. From Fig. 7(c), at the azimuth angle of 180 , pressure
carried out when the blade pitch angle b and tip speed ratio l are
difference between outer and inner surfaces becomes small in
set to optimum values, to make sure that the wind turbine has the
value regardless of solidity and Reynolds number. The reason is that
maximum power coefcient. The free stream wind velocity is xed
the direction of the rotation of rotor blade is the same as the inow
at U0 8.0 m/s and the numbers of blades are two, three, four and
direction. Therefore, the resultant ow relative to the blade, which
ve. For evaluating the effect of solidity s and Reynolds number Re
is shown in Fig. 8 reaches a minimum value at the azimuth angle of
on the aerodynamic performance of straight-bladed VAWT, the
180 . When the blade moves to the downstream region at the az-
power productions with the variation of the solidities of s 0.084,
imuth angle of 270 , the pressure difference becomes larger, but
0.127, 0.169 and 0.211 are calculated at Re 2.89  105, 2.31  105,
still smaller than the values at the azimuth angle of 90 . It seems
2.17  105 and 1.85  105, when the numbers of blades are two,
that the values of the angle of attack and the resultant ow become
three, four and ve, respectively.
smaller as a result of a velocity decit in the wake.
The uctuations of pressure distributions along the airfoil at
It is clearly seen from Fig. 7 that, compared with the trailing
optimum blade pitch angles are analyzed when tip speed ratios are
edge, the leading edge is very important for aerodynamic forces,
l 2.19, 1.78, 1.68 and 1.39, respectively. Fig. 7(aed) indicate the
which depend on the pressure distributions around the leading
pressure distributions as rotor blade passes through the azimuth
edge. Moreover, as the solidity s increases, the pressure difference
angles of q 0 , 90 , 180 and 270 , respectively. The horizontal
substantially decreases. On the other hand, as the Reynolds number
axis represents the non-dimensional chord station of x/c and the
increases, the pressure difference substantially increases.
vertical axis is the pressure coefcient calculated by the dynamic
Fig. 8 depicts the changes of resultant velocity to blade W
pressure of undisturbed ow.
against azimuth angle q at the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169
Fig. 7(a) illustrates the evolution of pressure distributions for the
and 0.211, respectively. From this gure, the resultant velocity
azimuth angle of q 0 . From this gure, it is determined that the
reaches a maximum value when the blade is at the azimuth angle of
pressure gradient shows a large value around the leading edge and
q 15 , and then decreases while further increasing azimuth angle.
It seems that, considering the pitch angle at this position, the di-
rections between tip speed of blade V and local wind velocity U are
almost opposite. However, from the azimuth angle of q 180 ,
where the value of W takes a minimum, the resultant ow velocity
will increase with the increase of azimuth angle. In addition, it
seems that the resultant velocity becomes larger with the increase
of solidity. The reason is that the tip speed of blade increases along
with increasing tip speed ratio.

4.2. Tangential and normal coefcients

In the development of straight-bladed VAWT, two important


parameters (tangential and normal coefcients) should be consid-
ered for the inuence of aerodynamic performance. As mentioned
above, the tangential and normal forces can be calculated by inte-
grating the pressure distributions acting on the airfoil surface.
The variations of the tangential coefcient against azimuth
angle are plotted in Fig. 9. In this gure, the tangential coefcients
for a single blade are compared at the different solidities. As shown
in this gure, it is noticed that the tangential coefcient CT takes a
maximum value at the upstream region and takes a minimum value
at the downstream region. Moreover, the peak value of tangential
Fig. 6. Denitions of various types of forces acting on the blade. coefcient increases with the increase of solidity. The maximum
934 Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939

Fig. 7. The uctuations of pressure distributions with the variation of the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211. The azimuth angles are registered at 0 , 90 , 180 and 270 ,
respectively.

values of CT are about 2.37, 2.02, 1.84 and 1.81, for the different becomes small when the solidity increases. That is to say, the peak
solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211, respectively. In values of tangential and normal coefcients decrease with the in-
addition, from this gure, it is particularly noted that the rate of the crease of solidity. The main reason is that the pressure differences
tangential coefcient, enhancement with the increase of Reynolds and the resultant ow become smaller with the increase of solidity,
number is reduced with approaching to a higher Reynolds number. making great contributions to the formation of aerodynamic forces.
In Figs. 10 and 11, the variations of the total tangential coefcient Meanwhile, when the solidity increases, the uctuation amplitudes
CT and normal coefcient CN are investigated for the entire wind of tangential and normal coefcients become narrow.
turbine as a function of azimuth angle during rotor rotation. From
these curves, the instantaneous tangential and normal coefcients 4.3. Lift and drag coefcients for a single blade
are presented to show periodic change and the cycles within each
rotation match the numbers of blades. It also indicates that there is Fig. 12 compares the estimated results of lift and drag co-
a large uctuation at the solidity of s 0.084, and the peak value efcients for a single blade against azimuth angle during rotation.

Fig. 8. Changes of resultant velocity with the variation of the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.
Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939 935

Fig. 11. The uctuation of normal coefcient CN for total blade at the solidities of
Fig. 9. The uctuation of tangential coefcient CT for single blade with the variation of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.
the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.

coefcient. In order to verify the reasonableness of results, it is very


As can be seen clearly, a similar phenomenon as concluded for the important to measure with different experimental approaches. In
normal coefcient (in Fig. 9) is noted: The lift and drag coefcients this study, the uctuations of power and torque coefcients can be
become large and reach their maximum values around the azimuth investigated with torque meter, pressure distributions and six-
angle of 90 at the upstream region. Moreover, the results suggest a component balance.
maximum value increase with the increase of Reynolds number. For For evaluating the solidity effect on the performance of a
the Reynolds numbers of Re 2.89  105, 2.31  105, 2.17  105 and straight-type VAWT as a rotating blade, the power coefcients with
1.85  105, the maximum values of lift coefcient are about 8.86, the variation of the solidity are calculated at Re 2.89  105,
8.12, 6.97 and 5.76, respectively; the maximum values of drag co- 2.31  105, 2.17  105 and 1.85  105, which are shown in Fig. 14.
efcient are about 1.06, 0.96, 0.93 and 0.85, respectively. These measurement values are against azimuth angle and are ob-
And here, the evolution of the lift-to-drag ratio CL/CD against the tained from pressure distributions. It is noted that the power co-
azimuth angle are also inspected in Fig. 13. From this gure, it is efcients present a periodic uctuation and the numbers of peak
clearly seen that the uctuations of lift-to-drag ratio changed values are the same as the numbers of blades. Moreover, the peak
slightly for the different solidities and Reynolds numbers. Mean- values and amplitude uctuations decrease with the increase of
while, at the beginning of rotor rotation, the lift-to-drag ratio de- solidity. Fig. 15 shows the uctuation of power coefcient as a
creases, and then tends toward a constant value. This is because the function of the tip speed ratio. These measurement values are
rate of lift coefcient is faster than the rate of the drag coefcient. calculated by the six-component balance. As can be clearly seen,
As the azimuth angle increases, the angle of attack also increases, so the peak of power coefcient decreases with the increase of so-
that the ow is separated from the airfoil surface and generates a lidity. For the solidity of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211, the
phenomenon called dynamic stall. Therefore, the lift-to-drag ratio maximum values of power coefcient are about Cpower 0.211,
becomes a constant value. At the upstream region (0  q  180 ), 0.202, 0.195 and 0.184, respectively. However, the optimum tip
the values of lift-to-drag ratio mainly show positive values. In speed ratio is delayed when the solidity increases. Lower solidity
contrast, at the downstream region (180  q  360 ), the values of usually shows a higher tip speed ratio and a higher power coef-
lift-to-drag ratio mainly show negative values. cient. At low tip speed ratios, the rotor blades are not strongly
inuenced by the air ow passing through the swept area of wind
turbine when the number of blades increases. To the contrary, at
4.4. Fluctuation of power and torque coefcients
high tip speed ratios, rotor blades are strongly inuenced by the
wakes from the upstream blades. Therefore, the efciency of the
Solidity is also one of the main parameters dictating the tip
turbine (given by the Cpower  l curve) varies greatly with wind
speed ratio at which the turbine reaches its maximum power
speed, which is a disadvantage of constant speed operation, but it
should be designed such that the maximum efciencies are ach-
ieved at the wind velocities with the most energy available.
Fig. 16 illustrates the uctuation of the torque coefcient CQ (for
single blade) against azimuth angle at different solidities. From this
gure, it must be noted that, at any cases of solidities, the torque
coefcients become greater at the upstream region and reach the
maximum values at the azimuth angle of q 100 . In contrast, the
torque coefcients decrease at the downstream region. Fig. 17 de-
picts the torque coefcient (for the whole blades) as a function of
the tip speed ratio for the different solidities. These measurement
values are calculated by the six-component balance. It can be
observed that the optimum tip speed ratio is expected to increase
with the increase of solidity. However, the peaks of torque coef-
cient increase with the increase of solidity.
In Figs. 15 and 17, it is still noteworthy that the values estimated
by the pressure distributions show larger values than the results of
Fig. 10. The uctuation of tangential coefcient CT for total blade at the solidities of
the six-component balance, especially at the highest solidity of
s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.
936 Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939

Fig. 12. Lift coefcient for single blade with the variation of the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.

Fig. 13. Fluctuation of lift-to-drag ratio CL/CD for single blade at the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.

Fig. 14. Fluctuation of power coefcient for single blade at the solidities of s 0.084, Fig. 15. Fluctuation of power coefcient for total blade at the solidities of s 0.084,
0.127, 0.169 and 0.211. 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.
Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939 937

Fig. 18. Comparison of power coefcient for different measurement methods at the
Fig. 16. Fluctuation of torque coefcient for single blade at the solidities of s 0.084, solidity of s 0.084.
0.127, 0.169 and 0.211.

understandings of the aerodynamics of straight-bladed VAWT


s 0.211. Furthermore, Fig. 18 compares the uctuation of the performance through wind tunnel experiments. In this research,
power coefcient for the six-component balance, pressure distri- the evaluation of tangential coefcient, normal coefcient, lift co-
butions and torque meter, respectively, when the solidity is efcient, drag coefcient, power and torque performance at four
s 0.084. As shown in this gure, the value of the six-component different solidities are investigated. Some highlights were sum-
balance is closer to the value of the torque meter. Fig. 19 compares marized as follows.
the uctuations of torque coefcient (for single blade) obtained
from pressure distributions against azimuth angle at different blade (1) At the inner side of airfoil, with the increase of the x/c,
spans from CFD calculations. The positions of measurement points pressure coefcients come down and peak values are also
in the spanwise direction are observed in Fig. 20. The result from obtained near the leading edge. Moreover, pressure differ-
Fig. 19 shows that the blade spans have a signicant effect on the ence substantially decreases with the increase of solidity s.
performance. In this experiment, the highest value of torque coef- For the solidities of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211, the
cient obtained in the center of blade span z/(H/2) 0 is 40% more maximum values are up to Cp 22.6, 17.1, 14.1 and 11.1,
than the blade span of z/(H/2) 0.55. That is to say, the pressure respectively. On the other hand, pressure difference sub-
coefcient in the blade span has a signicant impact on the power stantially decreases with the decrease of Reynolds number
coefcient. The reasons are shown in following: (1) The result from Re.
pressure distributions only considered the center of blade span, not (2) The peak value of tangential coefcient increases with the
taking into account pressure distributions at other positions; (2) increase of solidity. The maximum values of CT are about 2.37,
The effects of the additional loss from the support structure are 2.02, 1.84 and 1.81, for the different solidities of s 0.084,
ignored; (3) The mechanical loss of the rotating system, for 0.127, 0.169 and 0.211, respectively.
example, the loss due to the vibration and the friction between the (3) The maximum values of lift and drag coefcients decrease
turbine shaft and the two bearings and due to the elastic torsion with the increase of solidity for single blade. However, the
produced by exible couplings. More details of the reasons will be uctuations of lift-to-drag ratio changed slightly for different
investigated in our future studies with wind tunnel experiments solidities s and Reynolds numbers Re.
and CFD simulations. (4) The power coefcients decrease with the increase of the
solidity. However, the torque coefcients increase with the
5. Conclusions and future research increase of solidity. For the solidity of s 0.084, 0.127, 0.169
and 0.211, the maximum values of power coefcient are
The aim of this paper was to illustrate the improved about Cpower 0.211, 0.202, 0.195 and 0.184, respectively.

Fig. 17. Fluctuation of torque coefcient for total blade at the solidities of s 0.084, Fig. 19. Fluctuation of torque coefcient for different blade spans from CFD calcula-
0.127, 0.169 and 0.211. tions at the solidity of s 0.084.
938 Q. Li et al. / Renewable Energy 96 (2016) 928e939

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