Date of Award

Summer 2018

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Martin Wosnik

Second Advisor

Martin Wosnik

Third Advisor

Barry Fussell


A research wind turbine of one-meter diameter was designed for the use in the UNH Flow Physics Facility (FPF), a large flow physics quality boundary layer wind tunnel. The turbine design was carried out as an aero-servo model of the NREL 5MW reference turbine, with some modifications. The turbine is used to obtain data for multiscale wake model verification and validation, including wake data over long distances downstream. Blockage in the FPF test section is 4.8% based on rotor swept area.

The rotor was designed using blade element momentum theory based on the S801 airfoil. The optimal blade chord was scaled by 1.35 and 1.7 to raise the chord-based Reynolds number. This was done to achieve Reynolds number independent performance. Also, the blade pitch angle can be precisely adjusted.

The turbine is designed to actively control tip speed ratio, as well as record torque, rotor rotational velocity, and thrust. The tip speed ratio control is achieved with a Parker Hannifin BE344J series servo motor and Compax3 drive. A Futek LSB302 load cell is used in a single axis force balance to record thrust and a Futek TRS605 rotary torque transducer is used to record torque and rotational velocity. A National Instruments USB6211 data acquisition board and custom LabVIEW machine interface was used to manage the signals and implement the control logic.

Turbine performance was examined in the free stream. Reynolds number independent performance was shown above wind speeds above 7.5 m/s. Performance of the turbine was characterized, and maximum performance was shown at λ=6.1 with C_p=0.35 and C_T=1.05. The effect blade pitch angle was also examined, and it was shown that the peak turbine performance occurs at a blade pitch angle of zero degrees.