ARTICLE IN PRESS

Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 www.elsevier.com/locate/renene

On the performance analysis of Savonius rotor with twisted blades
U.K. SahaÃ, M. Jaya Rajkumar
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati-781 039, India Received 1 March 2004; accepted 6 August 2005 Available online 21 October 2005

Abstract The present investigation is aimed at exploring the feasibility of twisted bladed Savonius rotor for power generation. The twisted blade in a three-bladed rotor system has been tested in a low speed wind tunnel, and its performance has been compared with conventional semicircular blades (with twist angle of 01). Performance analysis has been made on the basis of starting characteristics, static torque and rotational speed. Experimental evidence shows the potential of the twisted bladed rotor in terms of smooth running, higher efficiency and self-starting capability as compared to that of the conventional bladed rotor. Further experiments have been conducted in the same setup to optimize the twist angle. r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Savonius rotor; Twisted blade; Starting characteristics; Static torque; Coefficient of performance

1. Introduction Savonius rotor is a unique fluid-mechanical device that has been studied by numerous investigators since 1920s. Applications for the Savonius rotor have included pumping water, driving an electrical generator, providing ventilation, and agitating water to keep stock ponds ice-free during the winter [1–4]. Savonius rotor has a high starting torque and a reasonable peak power output per given rotor size, weight and cost, thereby making it less efficient [5]; the coefficient of performance is of the order of 15% [6,7]. From the point of aerodynamic efficiency, it cannot compete with high-speed propeller and the
ÃCorresponding author. Tel.: +91 361 2691085; fax: +91 361 2690762.

E-mail address: saha@iitg.ernet.in (U.K. Saha). 0960-1481/$ - see front matter r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2005.08.030

and increase the starting characteristics and efficiency with the changes in the air direction. field experiments and numerical studies. Brief overview of past work Numerous investigations have been carried out in the past to study the performance characteristics of two and three bucket Savonius rotor. W tip radius of semicircular bladed rotor.12] have been used in vertical axis wind turbine to extract energy from the air. In view of this. bach type [8–10]. m/s density of atmospheric air. mm blade height. RPM shaft power (2pNTB/60).10. end plates and shielding [8. but also dependent of air direction. Kumar and Grover [6] have investigated a case study of a Savonius rotor for wind power generation. effect of adding end extensions. P1/(1/2rAU3) blade chord (2r). mm rotational speed of rotor.ARTICLE IN PRESS U. Detailed experiments have been conducted by some . which can be cost-efficient. mm brake torque. Nm mean stream velocity in x-direction. mm bottom tip radius of twisted bladed rotor.593 Â 1/2rAU3) Darrieus-type wind turbines. a distinct blade shape with a twist for the Savonius rotor has been designed. however. and high speed wind turbines driving rotary pumps have been studied. M. low-speed wind turbines operating piston pumps. mm top tip radius of twisted bladed rotor.16–18]. radius of brake wheel. Various types of blades like semicircular. Vishawakarma [4] attempts to discover an alternate energy option for water pumping. These investigations included wind tunnel tests. The use of deflecting plates [8.13] and shielding to increase the efficiency has not only made the system structurally complex. P1/(0. Blade configurations were studied in wind tunnels to evaluate the effect of aspect ratio. Lebost type [11. no attempt so far has been made to reduce the negative torque. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 1777 Nomenclature A AR Cp d H N P1 R R1 R2 r S TB U r a y Z projected area of rotor.. Two types of installations viz.K. m2 aspect ratio. 2. and power of the rotor at a large numbers of wind speeds at different overlap ratio [12]. Saha. Mojola has investigated field tests of Savonius rotor where data were collected for speed. mm blade arc radius.J. blades overlap and gap. developed and tested in the laboratory [14. environment friendly and sustainable. torque. kg/m3 twist angle (deg) Orientation angle (deg) efficiency.15]. H/d coefficient of performance. Preliminary investigation has shown good starting characteristics of the twisted blades. mm gap width.

Modi and Fernando [18] have described a mathematical model based on the discrete vortex method to predict the performance of a stationary and a rototary Savonius configuration. the twist angle of the blade was varied from a ¼ 01 to 251 and the performance of the rotor was studied in a low speed wind tunnel to find the optimum twist angle. 3) with the exit section of 0. Each blade has a mass of 126. 2). whereas root radius R2 is measured from the root of the twisted blade (Fig. rotational speed and coefficient of performance. 3.83. Blade manufacture The blades of Savonius rotor fabricated from galvanized iron sheets are attached to a central shaft held between the two bearings in framework. The data obtained from the recent investigations [14.375 m  0. Table 1 shows the details of the experiments carried out with varying tunnel dimensions.375 m in cross section [15. Fujisaw and Gotoh [21] studied the power mechanism of Savonius rotor by pressure measurements on the blade surface and by flow visualization experiments.5 g. The main geometric parameters are the blade chord (¼ 120 mm).1 m/s) was used to measure the air velocity. M.1.20]. The radius of the rotation R is measured from axis of rotation to the outer edge of the blades. where H and d are the height and the blade chord.29]. The semicircular (a ¼ 01) shape of the blade has been made on a rolling machine. The rotor consisted of blades rolled from sheet metal and attached to a central vertical shaft held between two bearings in the framework.15] have been included in the table along with the data available in the published literature [13]. A single block dynamometer was used to measure the static torque. Twisted blade (a ¼ 1012251) under present investigation has a tip radius R1 measured from the tip of the blade to the axis of rotation. Experimental setup The experiments were carried out in an open circuit wind tunnel (Fig.J. Performance studies of the rotor system have been made on the basis of starting characteristics.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1778 U. The air speed at the tunnel exit (wind speed) could be varied from 6 to 12 m/s. A thermal velocity probe anemometer (with an accuracy of 70. The schematic diagram of developed blades is shown in Fig 1. It is worth mentioning here that the blade with a twist of a ¼ 01 corresponds a semicircular blade. respectively. The present study In the present investigation. Saha. The rotor axis was kept at a distance of 200 mm from the tunnel exit (Fig. In either case.K. All the tests were carried out in a three-bladed system with blade aspect ratio of 1. Reynolds number and tip speed ratio. . The aerodynamic performance was also studied by Fujisaw and Gotoh [19] from the blade surface pressure distributions at various rotor angles and tip-speed ratios. the blades are having an aspect ratio (H/ d) of 1. 3.28. blade height (¼ 220 mm) and the twist angle (a). 3). Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 investigators to increase the output of a Savonius rotor by using a flow deflecting plate [13. while a digital tachometer (with an accuracy of 71 RPM) measured the rotational speed (RPM) of the rotor. static torque. 4.83.

53–2. [16] (twobladed rotor) Sheldahl et al.51) 0.500 0. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 1992 S-shaped 2002 Bergless and Athanassiadis [24] Sivasegaram and Sivapalan [25] Bowden and Mc-Aleese [26] Ogawa and Yoshida [27] without deflector Ogawa and Yoshida [27] with deflector Huda et al.87–1.78 0.8–3.6 1.8 20 14–15 17 21.175 0.25 6–9 1.99 excluding frictional power 1779 .7 1.68–0.300 0.460 0.49 0.46  0.162 0.375  0.305 closed sec 3.65–0.375 open sec 0. [13] without deflector Huda et al.25 0.175 0.09 0.6 open jet 1986 Savonius 1992 S-shaped 0.000 1978 Savonius Sheldahl et al. M.220 0.65 0.1–18.400 0.70 0.86 0.Table 1 Performance of Savonius /S-shaped rotor Rotor dia (m) Rotor height (m) 1. [13] with deflector Grinspan [15] (twist of 101) Raj Kumar [22] (twist of 12.5  2.5 12.327 1.76 m dia open jet 0.164 0.04–1.280 0.2–24.81 0.5 dia open jet U.5 closed sec 0.000 0.5 1.46 open jet 0.5 Wind tunnel dimensions (m  m) Free stream Reynolds velocity (m/s) number  105 Tip speed ratio Corrected max.700 0. [16] (three-bladed rotor) Alexander and Holownia [17] Baird and Pender [23] 1978 Savonius 4.22 0.22 8.500 1.060 1.59 excluding frictional power 13.375  0.68–0.2 15.320 0.5 12.320 0.44 0.375 open sec 2004 Twisted Savonius Twisted Savonius 11. Cp (%) Authors Year of study Type of rotor 1978 1.3 0.81 0.383 0.1 closed sec 4.120 0.1 closed sec Closed sec 15 including frictional power 12.150 0.86 0.23 1.185 0.076 0.5–12.6 open jet 7 7 10 18 8 2.08–1.185 0. Saha.67 0.6523 14 9.J.85 19.72 0.8  0.8  0.K.5 m dia open jet 6.305  0.5 17–21 1980 Savonius 1982 Savonius 1983 — 1984 Savonius ARTICLE IN PRESS 1986 S-shaped 0.5–12.72 0.5 18.300 0.2–17.25 8.32 14 8.250 Savonius 1.9  6.71 0.669 0.327 29.9  6.75 0.

K. 1. Schematic diagrams of semicircular and twisted blades. M. No load speeds. the rotor conditions and experimental uncertainty makes difficult to compare quantitatively all the researcher’s works. Saha. Schematic diagram of the developed blades.28˚ Height (H) = 220 mm x x 60 mm x − axis z − axis Chord = 120 mm Section at X-X 60 mm Chord = 120 mm Section at X−X Height (H) = 2 X .axis Fig. coefficient of performance and efficiency.axis y − axis 20 mm α =10. . 2.J. Performance studies of the rotor system in both the cases have been made on the basis of starting characteristics. 5. torque coefficient. series of experiments have been conducted in the set up to compare the results of semicircular and twisted blades. Results and discussion A series of experiments have been carried out with semicircular and twisted types of Savonius wind turbine rotor in a three-bladed system. static torque. All the tests were conducted at a room temperature of 25 1C. Y . The difference of experimental condition such as the tunnel blockage effect. Frictional losses should be taken into account as they may affect performance of small models substantially. the Reynolds number.axis Z .28˚ x x α =10. Hence. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 R1 R R2 120° r S S Top view of semicircular bladed rotor Top view of twisted bladed rotor Fig.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1780 U.

Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 450 mm 769 mm 750 mm 2. Starting characteristics at wind speed. Motor 20-deg mm 990 H 3500 mm 920 mm Fig. while all other twisted bladed rotor goes beyond 350 RPM. 3. 500 450 400 350 300 RPM 250 200 150 100 50 0 deg 10 deg 12. thereby indicating a better starting characteristics of twisted bladed rotor. M.ARTICLE IN PRESS U.42H Coarse screen Honey comb Fine screen Setting chamber Contraction cone (8:1) 1781 Diffuser Fan section 240 mm Bearing Housing 508 mm 8H Twisted bladed Savonius Rotor Fan A.1.J. U ¼ 10 m=s.Sec Fig. 5. 4. Schematic diagram of the wind tunnel with Savonius rotor. 4. The rotor with .5 deg 15 deg 20 deg 25 deg 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 Time . The rotor with semicircular blade (a ¼ 01) attains RPM of N ¼ 232 in 5 s.C. Saha.K. Starting characteristics The starting characteristics of the twisted bladed rotor at various twist angles (a) at a wind speed of U ¼ 10 m=s is shown in Fig.

7. Semicircular blades are taken as zero angle of twist. 8. Due to these changes. There is a sharp rise in speed at U ¼ 6:528 m=s. at a wind speed of U ¼ 10 m=s. 6. Starting characteristics at wind speed. It stands to reason that for the semicircular blade. When tested at a wind speed of U ¼ 8 m=s. Blade with a ¼ 151 shows maximum rise in RPM than a ¼ 450 400 350 300 RPM 250 200 150 100 50 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 Time .2. The starting characteristics at a wind speed of U ¼ 7 m=s shows an optimal twist angle of 151 as seen from Fig.J.51 is preferable. the energy capture in the lower part of the blade reduces drastically as compared to the upper part. the maximum force moves towards to the tip of the blade because of the twist in the blade. 0 deg 10 deg 12. 5. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 a ¼ 12:51 shows a maximum value of N ¼ 365 in 5 s. Moreover. the starting characteristics are better at higher airspeeds than at lower airspeeds for all the twist angles.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1782 U. the difference in RPM between the twisted bladed and semicircular bladed rotors is more than 20. Three-bladed semicircular Savonius rotor is well known for its self-starting characteristics and it has been improved by providing a twist to these blades. a twisted blade gets a longer moment arm. and hence a higher value of net positive torque. blades with a ¼ 12:51 and 151 show similar starting characteristics over the entire range of time (Fig. and thus found to be superior than the semicircular bladed rotor. and hence the net positive torque reduces. and by increasing the angle. with the increase of twist angles. 5. 5).Sec Fig. the performance of the Savonius rotor is increased in its starting characteristics and static toque. M. the maximum force acts centrally (curvature center) and vertically. U ¼ 8 m=s.K. twist angle of 12. The effect of twist angle at various airspeeds can be studied from Fig. It can also be seen from the plot that after 20 s. Saha. Furthermore. Whereas for the twisted blade. No-load speeds Variation of no-load RPM with the wind speed is shown in Fig. It has been observed that higher twist angle captures more energy at lower airspeeds and vice versa.5 deg 15 deg 20 deg 25 deg . Thus.

U ¼ 7 m=s.5 deg 15 deg 20 deg 25 deg 100 50 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 Time .J.ARTICLE IN PRESS U.Sec Fig. However. Starting characteristics at wind speed. 500 10 m/s 450 400 350 300 RPM 250 200 150 100 50 0 0 5 10 15 Time .K. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 1783 300 250 200 RPM 150 0 deg 10 deg 12. a ¼ 12:51 gives a better performance than a ¼ 151 in the range of U ¼ 8210 m=s. Saha. 8. 7. Starting characteristics at wind speed. 12:51 in the range of U ¼ 6:528 m=s. 6. It is evident that larger twist angle is preferable in the lower range of wind speed for producing maximum power and better starting . 10 m=s. U ¼ 7.sec 20 25 8 m/s 7 m/s Fig. M.

the energy capture in the lower part of the blade reduces drastically.01 0 120 160 200 240 280 320 40 80 0 Angle deg Fig. with the increase of twist angles (from a ¼ 151 to 251).5 8 8. from starting acceleration and maximum no load speed characteristics.5 9 9.5 m/s.5 deg 0 deg 0. The area under T– y diagram for twisted blade shows a larger area as compared to the semicircular bladed rotor. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 600 500 400 RPM 300 0 deg 10 deg 20 deg 12.K. Thus. 5.04 0.05 0.5 7 7. 9. Further. 12. Saha. 8.5 Wind Speed. characteristics.5 deg 0 deg 0 Torque Nm 340 320 300 280 260 240 220 200 180 12. M. Variation of RPM with velocity for twisted bladed rotor at various twist angles. Static torque vs. orientation angle diagram at U ¼ 10:17 m=s.5 deg 25 deg 200 15 deg 100 0 6 6. a ¼ 151 becomes the optimal angle at low velocity of 6.06 0.03 0.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1784 U.07 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 0. Static torque diagram comparisons The static torque of the rotors has been measured at 201 intervals for one complete revolution as shown in Fig. 9. The static torque coefficient of .5 Fig. m/s 10 10.02 0.J.3.

51 (Fig. It can also been seen from Fig. Shipment of stall angle for various twisted bladed rotor at wind speed U ¼ 10 m=s.12 0. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 0. the twisted blade shows a maximum peak torque and a lesser falling slope. The stalling angle of twisted blade is found to be shifted by 251 with the increase in angle of twist from a ¼ 0 to 12. thus giving a higher torque and efficiency as compared to the semicircular bladed rotor.04 0. these models are not developing sufficient powers to start rotation.02 0 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 Angle.08 0. deg 0 deg Twist 10 deg Twist 12.5 deg Twist 15 deg Twist 1785 Fig. 10).5 deg 15 deg Fig. Saha. it is possible that at every angle of orientation the rotor will develop some static torque as observed by Sheldahl et al.35 0.05 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Angle. There is a wide variation of static torque coefficient with angular . Static torque coefficient for various twisted bladed Savonius rotor at U ¼ 10 m=s. 11 that with the increase of twist angles. However.1 0. deg 0 deg 10 deg 12. by measuring frictional tare torque with an air motor.ARTICLE IN PRESS U.1 0. M.25 0.15 0.14 Co-eff of Torque 0. 11.16 0. semicircular and twisted blades (a ¼ 02151) in a three-bladed rotor system is shown for 1201 orientation (Fig. [16].3 0.45 0. the stalling angle shifts further.2 0. 0.J. and hence a greater area than the semicircular blades (Fig.K.4 Co-eff of Torque 0. the starting capability would be higher. It is clear that the Savonius rotor is not selfstarting at three specific positions.06 0. Due to this. Due to friction. This stalling problem can be avoided by making two stages of rotor one above the other with a stagger of 601. 9). 10. Moreover. 9).

K. From the performance viewpoint. 5. Conclusions In summary. a twisted blade gets a longer moment arm. Semicircular blades are taken as zero angle of twist.08 15 deg 0. the aerodynamic torque must exceed combined load and friction torques for a rotor from any angular position. Saha.4. 12 compares the performance of the Savonius rotor with different twist angles at various airspeeds. wind tunnel studies show the potential of the Savonius rotor with twisted blades in terms of smooth running.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1786 U. C p ¼ 13:99 is found at tip speed ratio of l ¼ 0:65 (U ¼ 8:23 m=s) and for semicircular bladed rotor is giving C p ¼ 11:04 at the same velocity. This implies that the minimum value of static torque coefficient may be the deciding factor controlling the size and stacks of the Savonius rotor [30]. with the increase of twist angles.16 0 deg 0. The twist angle a ¼ 151 gives optimum . higher efficiency and self-starting capability as compared to that of the semicircular bladed rotor. to initiate rotation.J. 12. and by increasing the angle. Variation of coefficient of performance with velocity for various twisted bladed rotors.5 deg 0. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 0.12 Cp 10 deg 12. Coefficient of performance comparison Fig. position of rotor. Thus. Maximum coefficient of performance. 6. Three-bladed semicircular Savonius rotor is well known for its self-starting characteristics and it has been improved by providing a twist to these blades. the energy capture in the lower part of the blade reduces drastically as compared to the upper part. m/s 10 12 Fig. Due to these changes. whereas a ¼ 12:51 is suitable at higher velocities. the performance of the Savonius rotor is increased in its performance. and hence the net positive torque reduces. the maximum force moves towards to the tip of the blade because of the twist in the blade. M. The principal observations of the present findings can be briefly stated as under:    For the twisted blade. and hence a higher value of net positive torque. a ¼ 151 is superior at lower wind velocities.04 0 0 2 4 6 8 Wind Speed. Moreover. Larger twist angle is preferable in the lower wind velocity for producing maximum power and better starting characteristics.

1981. Holownia BP. Rajkumar / Renewable Energy 31 (2006) 1776–1788 1787    performance at low airspeeds of U ¼ 6:5 m=s in terms of starting acceleration and maximum no load speed. Savonius rotor wind turbine for water pumping—an alternate energy source for rural sites. Grover S. [13] Huda MD. Matloff GL. Wind energy technology. the starting capability would be higher. This stalling problem can be avoided by making two stages (stacking) of rotor one above the other with a stagger of 601. [12] Mojola OO. Journal of Energy 1981. p. Nelson V. [3] Modi VJ. New York: Wiley. whereas the semicircular blade (a ¼ 01) shows a C p ¼ 11:04 and Z ¼ 18:67 at the airspeed. 98-0041. Probert SD. IIT Guwahati. Mino M.J. In: Proceedings of institution of mechanical engineers. Development of a low speed wind tunnel and testing of Savonius wind turbine rotor with twisted blades. p. [16] Sheldahl RE. USA. Roth NJ. . Roth NJ. Wind tunnel test on a Savonius rotor. This significant raise of Cp and efficiency are inevitable to further proceeding in this area. 1993. Islam MQ. Gilmore E. vol. Fernando MSUK. Islam AKMS.5:104–8. [7] Walker JF. In: Proceedings of ninth national convention of mechanical engineers. [2] Clark RN. p. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics 1985. 1997. Barieau RE. [9] Modi VJ. [10] Saylers AT. Due to this. On the aerodynamics design of the Savonius windmill rotor. GA. Kumar PS.51.2:160–4. [4] Vishwakarma R. Tech. In: Proceedings of 17th intersociety energy conversion engineering conference. [11] Hoffert MI. Wind tunnel performance data for two and three bucket Savonius rotor. Performance characteristics of a Savonius rotor for wind power generation—a case study. Design. and it has been found that the stalling angle shifts further with the increase of twist angle. 428–31. [8] Ushiyama I. ASME/AIAA Paper No. Blade configuration optimization and performance characteristics of a simple Savonius rotor. Journal of Industrial Aerodynamics 1978. Ratnarao DV. RERIC International Energy Journal 1992. Twisted blade with a ¼ 151 shows a maximum of C p ¼ 13:99 and Z ¼ 23:6 at tip speed ratio of l ¼ 0:65 (i. [17] Alexander AJ.21:223–31. Prototype design of a wind energy operated irrigation system.K. [14] Grinspan AS. alternate sources of energy. 2001.2:75–81. Pittalwala A. 1982. Blackwell BF.e. Feltz LV. 1995. Yokomizo T.. Jenkins N. 1998. Saha UK. 185–91. In: Proceedings of 16th intersociety energy conversion engineering conference. In: Proceedings of 28th national conference on fluid mechanics & fluid power. Journal of Institution of Engineers (India) 1999. [5] Reupke P. Blade configuration of the Sovonius rotor with application to irrigation system in Indonesia. Nagai H. 199. 2096–101. Atlanta. p. Saha. The performance of an S-shaped Savonius rotor with a deflecting plate. India: Department of Mechanical Engineering. Journal of Energy 1978. Wind turbines for irrigation pumping. The optimum design configurations of Savonius wind turbines. M.14:25–32. Rugg AB. An integrated approach to design of a wind energy operated integrated system.3:343–51. Mahanta P. development & testing of Savonius wind turbine rotor with twisted blades. Veda Bhanu G.40:65–75. 1982. Slatted-blade Savonius wind-rotors. In: Proceedings of 17th intersociety energy conversion engineering conference. at U ¼ 8:23 m=s). 2089–195. India. References [1] Modi VJ. The Lebost wind turbine: laboratory tests and data analysis. The stalling angle of twisted blade is found to be shifted by 251 with the increase in angle of twist from a ¼ 01 to 12. Applied Energy 1991. and hence a higher torque and efficiency as compared to the semicircular bladed rotor.79:32–4. M. 2002. India: IIT Kanpur. Thesis. Journal of Energy 1978. [15] Grinspan AS. Selim MA.ARTICLE IN PRESS U. [6] Kumar A.

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