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MEAM Seminar: “The Unsteady Aerodynamics of Wind Power Generation”
February 15, 2022 at 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Wind energy plays a crucial role in clean energy generation. Currently, horizontal axis wind turbines dominate the wind energy sector. Nevertheless, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) have some advantages over traditional horizontal axis wind turbines. However, their performance is difficult to predict and they are prone to failure over time. This is because the axis of rotation of a VAWT is perpendicular to the wind direction, which causes the individual blades to experience rapidly fluctuating airflows, even when the wind direction is constant. These fluctuations can lead to unsteady flow phenomena that are not well understood. In this talk, I will present new insights into the aerodynamics of VAWTs by elucidating the unsteady airflow over an individual turbine blade. I will discuss a flow phenomenon known as dynamic stall and its impact on VAWT performance. Because wind turbines are too large to study in a laboratory, most experimental wind turbine research is conducted on scaled-down models, but this typically changes the physics involved. The research I will present was conducted in a pressurized wind tunnel which allows for physically accurate downscaling of large-scale flows. The insights from this research can be used to design VAWTs with better durability and performance.
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University
Claudia Brunner is in the final year of her PhD in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Her research focuses on experimental studies of large-scale fluid dynamics involving turbulence and unsteady effects. She is particularly interested in flows that are relevant for the fields of energy and the environment, and supplements her engineering research with studies of relevant policy questions. Claudia Brunner received a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Defense, and a Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Fellowship from the High Meadows Environmental Institute and the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She holds an M.A. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University.