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Effect of Blades Number to Performance of Savonius Water

Turbine in Water Pipe

Imron Hamzah1, Ari Prasetyo1, D. D. D. Prija Tjahjana1, Syamsul Hadi1,*
Mechanical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sebelas Maret, Surakarta 57126,

*Corresponding author:

Abstract. Savonius is usually known as a wind turbine that works efficiently at low wind speed. In this research, the
Savonius turbine is proposed for a pico hydro power plant that is installed straightly on the 3-inch vertical pipeline of
rainwater and household waste. The Savonius water turbine was designed with blade curvature angle of 70º, the aspect
ratio of 1, turbine diameter of 82 mm, and endplate ratio of 1,1. The experimental study investigated the effect of blades
number to the performance of Savonius turbine on various volume flow rate of water. Savonius turbine with three blades
number generated the highest coefficient of performance of 0.23 on tip speed ratio of 1.7 compared to turbines with the
number of other blades.

Rainwater and household waste at the high rise building which is commonly just wasted without first being
used have a great potential as an energy source for a power plant [1]. The water which flows only by gravitational
force has a bigger momentum than air, so it has a higher capability to directly move a turbine connected to a generator
[2, 3]. Another while application of the wind turbine as a water turbine becomes an interesting topic of research
recently. For example, the Savonius turbine is commonly known as a Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) which is
recognized to be able to work efficiently in a low wind speed [4]. Various methods have been conducted to raise the
performance of Savonius turbine [5]. Research which compared a 2-blade Savonius wind turbine with a semi-
cylindrical blade type from 3-blade Savonius wind turbine of the same blade type was conducted [6]. On the same
experiment condition, the 2-blade Savonius wind turbine was known to be more efficient and had a higher coefficient
of performance than the other. However, in research which put half-round Savonius wind turbine to test, the different
number of blades was found to be more efficient [7]. The research was conducted to investigate the effect of the
number of blades to the performance of Savonius wind turbine. It was found that 3-blade Savonius wind turbine
performed better and higher tip speed ratio (TSR) than the 2-blade Savonius turbine or the 4-blade Savonius turbine.
This shows that the number of blades on Savonius turbine greatly influences the turbine performance.

The turbine for the experiment was designed based on previous references which had an aspect ratio (D/h)
of 1 and end plate parameter (D0/D) of 1.1. The blade curvature angle was 70ᵒ, while the blade thickness was 2 mm
as shown in Figure 1. The variations of the number of blades were 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 blades. All parameters such as
aspect ratio, end plate, plate thickness, and the blade curvature angle of the turbine were similar, while the variation
of the number of blades tested is shown in Figure 2. The turbines were produced by 3D printing process, which is one
of the fast prototyping technique but needs a special design from software. The turbines were made from PLA
(Polylactic Acid) with 2 mm of thickness as shown in Figure 2. The data of the research were obtained from test
equipment which had been set in accordance with the problem statement. The test equipment works by pumping water
from lower reservoir to upper reservoir. After that, the water fell and hit the turbine. The data obtained for this research
were the electrical current, the electrical voltage, the turbine rotational speed, and the flowrate. The electrical current
and voltage were obtained by multimeter. The rotational speed was obtained by tachometer.

Figure 1. Turbine dimension

2 Blades 3 Blades 4 Blades 5 Blades 6 Blades

Figure 2. Turbine design


This research was conducted by employing four variations of the flow rate of the fluid in order to investigate
its effect on the turbine power generation. The entering flow rate before hitting the turbine influenced the power input
calculation as shown in Figure 3. The power generated by fluid constantly increased, corresponding to the flow rate
increase. The power on the debit of 2.94 x 10 -3 m3/s was 40.246 Watt. The power increased to 81.535 Watt on the
debit of 5.751 x 10-3 m3/s. The debit of 8.166 x 10-3 m3/s generated much higher power which amounted to 135.722
Watt, and increased more on the debit of 11.38 x 10 -3 m3/s, amounting to 233.435 Watt.

Power Input (Watt)




0 2,94 5,751 8,166 11,38

0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Flowrate x10 (m3/s)

Figure 3. The graph of flow rate effect on power input.

The power generated in each variation of a number of the blade is shown in Figure 4. The power generated
by 3-blade turbine was higher than 2-blade turbine then started to decline on 4-blade turbine until 6-blade turbine as
shown in Figure 4. For the 3-blade turbine, water caught by the blade was on the optimal value of the specific rotation
speed of the blade. The distant gap between blades caused the water to flow freely and to hit other parts of the blades,
therefore producing a positive thrust force. Furthermore, such conditions would result in a smaller negative thrust
force, and therefore the turbine would be able to generate in the bigger value. The more the number of blades, the less
the power each turbine generated. The increasing number of blades caused the drag force increase on the reverse or
convex side of blades, which would result in a bigger reverse torsion or negative force, thus generating less amount
of power [6].

2 Blade
35 3 Blade
4 Blade
5 Blade
30 6 Blade

Power Eletrical (Watt) 25




0 2,94 5,751 8,166 11,38

0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Flowrate x10 -3 (m 3/s)

Figure 4. The Graph of Flow rate Effect on Power electrical.

Tip speed ratio (TSR) is defined as the comparison between the turbine tip speed and the fluid speed passing
through the turbine. The TSR value ranges from 0 to 4 [3]. Meanwhile, the coefficient of power (Cp) is defined as the
comparison between fluid energy which is able to be obtained by a turbine with the overall energy found in the fluid.
The values of mechanical TSR and Cp in each turbine on each debit variation is shown in Figure 5.

2 Blade
3 Blade
4 Blade
0.2 5 Blade
6 Blade
Coefficient of Power (Cp)




0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8
Tip Speed Ratio (TSR)

Figure 5. The Graph of Relation between Tip Speed Ratio and Coefficient of performance.

The graph in Figure 5 shows the value of TSR and Cp. Turbine with 2 blades had TSR and Cp, 1 and 0.114
respectively at 2.94 x 10-3 m3/s of the debit, and increased in 3-blades turbine,1.012 and 0.126 respectively. The TSR
and the Cp for 4-blades turbine dropped to 0.974 and 0.103, while in the 5-blades turbine were 0.993 and 0.109
respectively. The 6-blades turbine generated the lowest value of TSR and Cp, 0.964 and 0.081. The value of TSR and
Cp on the debits variation of 5.751 x 10-3 m3/s increased in each turbine variation, compared with the previous debit
variation. The 3-blades turbine generated the highest value of TSR and Cp than other variations, 1.526 and 0.15 for
TSR and Cp. The values of TSR and Cp in the 2-blades turbine were 1.085 and 0.106. The 4-blades turbine generated
1.069 and 0.093 on TSR and Cp. The 5-blades turbine generated 1.043 and 0.085 respectively. However, The values
of TSR and Cp of the 6-blades turbines were decreased to 0.288 and 0.006. This may cause by rotation of turbine
decreased at 5.751 x 10-3 m3/s. The 3-blades turbine generated the highest TSR and Cp also at 8.166 x 10-3 m3/s, 1.409
and 0.221. The 2-blades turbine generated 1.354 and 0.146 for the TSR and Cp. The value of TSR and Cp of the 4-
blades turbine were 1.235 and 0.117. The TSR and Cp in 5-blades turbine were 0.1406 and 0.196. The value of TSR
and Cp of 6-blades turbine increased significantly; those were 1.337 and 0.141. The highest value of TSR and Cp was
3-blades, those were 1.783 and 0.234, and the lowest was 2-blades turbine, those were 1.438 and 0.152 at 5.751 x 10-
m3/s. The 4-blades turbine had 1.745 and 0.209 in every value of TSR and Cp. The 5-blades were 1.74 and 0.204,
and 6-blades turbine was 1.563 and 0.167. The experimental showed that the 3-blades Savonius water turbine had the
highest value of TSR and Cp compared with another blades number of turbines at the same flow rate. It means the 3-
blades turbine was able to perform better than the turbine with another blades number.

After conducting experiments and data calculation analysis, conclusions are drawn as follows:
1. The 3-blade Savonius turbines performed best. The coefficient of performance was 0.23 on tip speed ratio of
2. The experiment shows that the 3-blade generator turbines had the higher amount of power if compared to the 2-
blade, 4-blade, 5-blade, and 6-blade turbines. The 3-blade turbines generated power of 2.992 Watt, 6.304 Watt,
19.122 Watt, and 34.834 Watt on each debit variation.

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