Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair Award
Our President presented the SCWIST Award at the Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair to winner, Chloe Chen with her project “A Better Wind Turbine – The C Airfoil”. Congratulations, Chole! We look forward to a more efficient wind turbine.
A Better Wind Turbine – The C Airfoil
West Point Grey Academy
Are the horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) commonly used today as effective as possible? Traditionally, HAWT blades are designed based on the same theories as airplane wings. I began my project by investigating some differences between airplanes and wind turbines; in particular, their relationship to the direction of the wind. I modified the traditional blade accordingly into a curved blade that I named the ?C-airfoil?. Then, after doing multiple calculations and experiments, I found the optimum twist/cut angle for both the C-airfoil and the traditional airfoil. Finally, I compared their maximum power levels to the original blade with no twist.
Through experimentation, the complete C-airfoil with optimum cut was found to be __% more effective than traditional HAWTs, with optimum twist. These results were far more extreme and effective than I had expected.
The C-airfoil is actually composed of many different factors, all of which I also individually tested. Its curved shape was proven effective, as a C-shaped blade with no airfoil performed better than a regular blade with no airfoil. The airfoil also helped, as both the regular and C-shaped blades with airfoil performed much better than ones without. Finally, the optimized cut/twist was also proven helpful, as the optimized blade performed better than the regular airfoil.
I chose to do this project because I have always intuitively thought that wind turbines and airplanes are fundamentally different, and should not be based completely on the same concept. I believed that by altering the blades to better suit the wind turbine, I could improve its efficiency.