Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Martin Wosnik


A model for cross-flow axis hydrokinetic turbines based on blade element theory (BET) was developed. The model combines an extensive experimental and numerical high Reynolds number data set for symmetric airfoils with governing equations to predict performance characteristics of the turbines. In this model the freestream velocity and the turbine's rate of rotation are not coupled hydrodynamically; experimental calibration of the model for a specific turbine design is necessary. The calibrated model uses velocity data from a tidal energy site to predict power and energy yield over a full tidal cycle. The experimentally calibrated model is compared to a single disk multiple streamtube blade element momentum (BEM) model. Investigation of tip speed ratios allows for predictions of unsteady loadings, optimal performance, and power outputs. The model provides the versatility to predict characteristics of many different cross-flow axis turbines, and provides insight for how these turbines behave.