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Delfin C. Suministrado

Abstract The theory of similitude as applied to modeling of windrotors is presented in this paper. It demonstrates the method of dimensional analysis using Buckingham Pi theorem to determine the conditions of similarity of windrotor models and prototypes. It explains the applications of the derived conditions of similarity to be able to conduct laboratory performance testing and evaluation of windrotor models and predict performance of fabricated and installed prototypes. Research work involving tests of horizontal and vertical axis windrotor models conducted by different researchers are also discussed. Introduction Windmills were among the early prime movers which man had used to replace his muscle power. Technology of its application had shown great successes in the past particularly in Europe, until its slow decline in popularity due to the invention of the steam-powered machines. With the development of internal combustion engines and the spread of electric power in the 20th century, windmills were almost totally ignored except for some limited applications. The most important use in the past of these wind-driven rotor systems was for grinding or milling of grains. As such, ‘windmill’ became the accepted, though, inappropriate, term generally used to refer to the machines. The Dutch made radical improvements in the basic design of windmills and had extensively employed them for water pumping to drain polders. This application for water pumping also spread in the USA in the middle of the 19th century (Aspliden, 1980). Although the advancement of electrical technology during the early part of the twentieth century led to the decline of windmill use, electric generation by wind power started to be a subject of research and development activities. The oil crisis of the 1970s and the fear of global warming in the early 21st century further fueled this interest on wind energy utilization along with investigations on other alternative, non-conventional and renewable energy sources. Wind is a cheap alternative energy source. For developing countries, it can effectively contribute to the energy needs of the rural areas especially agricultural operations like water pumping for irrigation or household use. Electricity generation has a great potential because energy in electric form is very versatile and can be applied in various ways. If not in use, it can also be stored in batteries. Types of windrotors Windrotors can easily be classified based on their structural configuration. Two main families are vertical axis machines and horizontal axis machines. To harness the energy from the wind, they can either use the lift or drag forces. A vast majority of successful wind energy generating systems, ancient or modern, make use of horizontal axis windrotors propelled by the lift forces. Recently, because of the comparative simplicity of design and lower cost of vertical axis windrotors, many research investigations are now devoted to their design and development.

. et al. Although another possible approach is the use of analytical or mathematical models involving . Tests of windrotors do not generally require the use of full-size prototypes. e. For example. lift and drag coefficients. the Philippines Atmospheric. data on the performance of some airfoils have long been determined and made available in literatures. that the characteristic behavior of some of these windmills are still unknown and they have yet to undergo tests for proper performance evaluation. 1970). analyzed them and presented the results in a form tailored for use in designing windmills (Kintanar et al.. Instead. Windrotor design for wind energy extraction has also benefited much from similitude.Wind data and windmills in the Philippines Adequate data on wind speed and duration in a particular area where a windmill is to be installed are basic requirements in the design and installation of wind energy conversion systems. together with the Bureau of Energy Development(BED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) embarked on a project to obtain the data. The benefit has been not only in the immediate practical sense of providing detailed information about a particular component (e. other blade shapes and structural configurations are expected to come out. et al. small models can be employed. Recognizing this need. However. It is a fact. Jansen. Belonio. 1986. Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).. On this basis.g. It also presents model tests and the results obtained from experiments conducted on different windrotor types and blade shapes. This paper discusses the theory of model design and construction as applied to windrotors. Some types of horizontal axis windmills are already available in the Philippine market.1986).g. Aerodynamics in particular has benefited from wind-tunnel tests based on similitude. however. and their applications in windmill design have been well demonstrated (Le Gourieres. As there is a growing interest in and need of windmills and other wind energy extraction systems. airfoils) or a proposed design but also in support of the evolution of a comprehensive theory of aerodynamics (Freitag. 1982. But space and equipment considerations preclude the use of full-size prototypes. et al. designers and fabricators can build windrotors which more or less approximate the desired performance characteristics under some specific conditions of application. Theory of similitude for windrotors Scale model tests based on the principle of similitude have played a major role in the development of aerodynamics. 1994). military and scientific applications. to be able to establish the overall behavior under varying operating conditions.. actual performance tests of the assembled machine itself is still very much necessary. Research engineers were able to design and analyze systems involving fluid flows that are too complex for purely analytical or mathematical calculations. Such accomplishments are well manifested in the design of modern aircrafts for civil. This technique of using airfoil data in windrotor design is undeniably better than the cutand-try approach.

To establish the design condition for modeling and to determine the prediction equation. lift and drag forces. their results also need physical verification. is the development of valid similarity requirements. Dimensional analysis. To make use of a model. b. and by (b) the technique of dimensional analysis. therefore. therefore. Variables for windrotor analysis Symbol P D l ρ γ g V N B Description of quantity shaft power diameter of the rotor a characteristic length of the blade density of the flowing fluid kinematic viscosity of flowing fluid acceleration due to gravity velocity of flowing fluid rotational speed of windrotor number of blades Dimensions (in terms of F. reliable and accurate predictions can be made from the modeling work. Consider a horizontal axis windrotor whose shaft power is a function of the variables given in Table 1. B) Table 1. These relationships are commonly referred to as the similarity requirements of the system of model and prototype. The key to a successful model study. Development of similarity requirements Similarity requirements can be obtained by (a) use of mathematical equations along with initial and boundary conditions. L and T) F L T-1 L L F L-3 L2 T-1 L T-2 L T-1 T-1 Application of the Buckingham pi theorem reveals that the phenomenon is a function of six dimensionless quantities or pi (π ) terms of which one suitable set would be: . therefore. windrotors with new blade or structural configurations and those that are yet in the development stage can be best investigated. dimensional analysis is performed given the following generalized equation: P = f (D. Similarity requirements between models and prototypes A model is a device which is so related to a physical system that observations on it maybe used to predict accurately the performance of the physical system. V. ρ . made the application of analytical approach of limited significance. is the only possible alternative methodology to evaluate and/or predict machine performance. has always been used.computational fluid dynamics. and many others. the complexity of the relationships among variables such as fluid flow. density and viscosity of fluid. Scale model testing. l. With model testing. The physical system for which the predictions are to be made is commonly called the prototype. g. it is necessary that certain relationships be satisfied between the model and prototype. γ. In the case of windrotors. N. The procedure of dimensional analysis emanates from a consideration of the variables in the problem and the dimensions of these variables. airfoil shape. Once these requirements have been developed and satisfied. a.

(V 2 / (D g)). the prediction equation.e) Vm 3 Dm 2 /gm ) …(3) V 2 / (D g) = Vm 2 / (Dm gm) V / ( N D ) = Vm / ( Nm Dm ) B = Bm then. it applies to any other windrotor system of the same type. π 5. Eqs. any measurement (Pm) obtained from the model can be used to predict the power (P) on the prototype.a) . (3). (2. (2. Geometric similarity can easily be satisfied in windrotor models while at least one dimensionless quantity will be allowed to depart from its correct value as will be shown below. can give predictions of the behavior of the prototype... An adequate model can only give accurate predictions of one characteristics of prototype but will not necessarily yield correct predictions of other characteristics.. there is complete similarity. . that is: D / l = D m / lm (D V ) /γ = (Dm V m) /γ m . Four general types of models can exist.. and.. B } As this is a generalized solution. P / (ρ V 3 D2/g )= Pm / (ρ m where all the variables to the left are those of the prototype and those to the right (with the subscript m) are of the model. (2) are called the design conditions and Eq. π 3 . (2.b) … (2. Therefore. A dissimilar model bears no physical resemblance to the prototype. therefore. besides being geometrically similar to the prototype. but which. requires correction of the prediction equation. A distorted model violates design conditions and. if each pi term on the right side of the above equation is equal in any two systems.d) .π 1 = P / (ρ V 3 D2/g) π 4 = V 2 / (D g) π 2 = D/ l π 5=V /(ND) π 3 = ( D V ) /γ π 6= B A functional relationship among the pi terms maybe written in the form: π 1 = F ( π 2.c) … (2.(2) are satisfied between the model and prototype. (D V ) /γ . therefore. through analogies. π 4. ( V / ( N D )).. If all the design conditions indicated by Eqs. must satisfy all other restrictions specified by the design conditions. π 6 ) {P / (ρ V 3 D2/g)}= F { ( D / l ) . A true model.

(2b) combined with Eq. Using a length scale n. it was not considered in the dimensional analysis. the prediction equation given by Eq. (4). Variation in drag with Reynolds number necessary and only the Froude (Murphy.. But since it 1 has been established that Reynolds Number in the range higher than 100 10 has virtually no effect upon drag 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 coefficient as shown in Fig. (2c). It must be therefore noted that the effects of the compression of air as the fluid will not become important and the factor that relates air and sound velocities. when combined with Eq. either Froude Number 10 criterion or the effect of viscosity (Reynolds Number criterion) must be 10 ignored. B.(2b) requires that the Reynolds Number of the model and the prototype be similar. D = n Dm .(4) reduces to: Vm = n V …(5) which says that the model must be tested at a wind speed n times that for the prototype. 1. Eq.. Eq. or else the model must be distorted geometrically. Eq. in the model be equal to that of the prototype. In fact. With Eqs. (4) and (6). Therefore.The condition of geometric similarity is imposed by Eq. Since model tests are conducted in wind tunnels at the atmospheric temperature and pressure. the exact equality of the Reynolds Number is not at all Fig. does not impose any additional condition. reduces to: Vm = V / n(1/2) . 2 S p h e re D v 2d 2 C irc u la r d is c C y lin d e r -1 -1 0 2 3 4 5 The similarity of the tip speed ratios. while Eq. will not become significant. (3) reduces to P = n (7/2) Pm …(7) . This eases the design and test requirements of models because wind tunnel experiments can be performed in atmospheric condition at lower values of wind velocity. the Froude Number criterion. 1950).(6) With these two incompatible conditions. the Mach Number. (2d). (2e) requires that the number of blades. γ and γm cancel out. On the other hand. 1 from v d µ Murphy (1950). (2a) where l designates any permanent length characterizing the shape of the windrotor blade. a criterion not included in the above dimensional analysis. Number requirement need be maintained. l = n lm …(4) The condition imposed by Eq.

et al. E. (2d). λ. It also shows how dimensional analysis can help in the determination of the geometrical characteristics of the model as well as the operating conditions for testing. Cp is a measure of success in extracting power from the wind. is the ratio of the speed of the rotor blade element at the tip to the wind velocity as earlier derived in Eq. a more recent mathematical derivation showed that the value of the ideal power coefficient should be 0.686 is said to have been calculated by G. in 1929. Graphical presentation of windrotor performance characteristics Performance characteristics of windrotors are generally presented in terms of graphical relationship of dimensionless quantities such as: Power coefficient. Betz. Fig. It has been shown that a windmill has one value of λ which the power coefficient. Ct = T / ( ½ ρ V 2 π R 3) Tip-speed ratio. is maximum. It is similar in the form to π 1 above. 2 shows the power characteristics of some representative windrotors (Jansen and Smulders. c. it offers a more systematic method of interpretation of available data on the performance characteristics of windrotor models of any size. 2004).3%) which is based on the analysis made by A. λ = U / V where R is the radius and U is the tip speed of the windrotor.89 (Singh. The power coefficient. … (8) … (9) …(10) . Sabinin. This limit was claimed to be independently and simultaneously also derived by N. The tip-speed ratio. As other researchers declared that there may not be a strict upper limit. It is the ratio of the mechanical power obtained by the windrotor over the power of the wind. Cp. The maximum value of power coefficient has been generally assumed to be 16/27 (59. The Betz’s maximum power coefficient is indicated in the figure. a pupil of Zhukovsky. H. Furthermore. Windmill test data can easily be transformed into equivalent values for appropriate applications. 1977). Zhukovsky of the Soviet Union although a higher value of 0.The above method of calculating design conditions and prediction equation shows that windrotor models can be adequate models. Cp = P / (½ ρ V 3 π R 2) Torque coefficient..

C p ..5 9 3 a i r f o il C . 0 . Cp 0 . g. . 4 -b la d e d . it can readily be determined by the formula: C t = Cp / λ Model tests of windrotors Chowdhury (1987). γ.b l a d e d . 3 .(12) . 2 -b la d e d . c u rv e d B .5 0 . T h e o r e t i c a l m a x i m u m .2 0 . Fig. Power characteristics of selected windrotors (Jansen and Smulders. M u lt i b l a d es t e e l p l a t e E1 . A . 1977). Ct. d . power and angular velocity.D . used the following relationship: P = f (D.6 0 . In terms of Cp and λ.1 A 0 0 2 B F . o f d iff e r e n t ty p e s o f w in d r o to r s a s f u n c t io n o f t ip s p e e d r a t i o ..3 0 . S a v o n iu s a irfo il 0 . a i r f o il E2 . a horizontalaxis windrotor. c. 2. ρ. C r e ta n D E F C 4 6 8 10 T ip S p e e d R a ti o 12 14 T h e p o w e r c o e ffic ie n t. D a r r i e u s . can be derived from the relationship between torque. The torque coefficient.4 Power Coefficient. V. in his work to optimize the design of Cretan windrotor. B ) where the variables and their dimensions are given in Table 2.

Pertinent variables used by Chowdhury (1987) for performance analysis of Cretan windrotor models. he used π ’1 as his Cp in the presentation of his results. of 0. Ct.22 meter was used in the experiment. P = f ( d . The diameter of the model windrotor was about 1. he obtained the following pi terms or dimensionless quantities: π ’1 = P / (ρ V 3 d 2/2g) π ’4 = (d g) / V 2 π ’2 = D /d π ’5 = c/d π ’3 = γ / ( d V ) π ’6 = B He used eight kinds of shape of the blade with the 2. Among other observations. ω. S.76 for a six-bladed model..(12) Table 3 below shows the description of the variables and their dimensions. For proper comparison with the work of other researchers. of 0. his results showed that the highest power coefficient.39 and tip-speed ratio. A wind tunnel with a length of about 6 meters and diameter of about 1. Cp. 3. g. V. λ .2 m. He used the following generalized relationship of variables affecting the performance of the rotor.. Symbol P D d ρ γ g V c B Description of quantity shaft power diameter of the rotor any distance from the center of the hub density of the flowing fluid kinematic viscosity of flowing fluid acceleration due to gravity velocity of flowing fluid height of the blade or length of the highest cord number of blades Dimensions (in terms of F. a vertical axis windrotor. Khan (1978) also applied the principles of similitude to the study of the optimum design of a Savonius windrotor. T ) . γ.298 at the torque coefficient.Table 2. 4. 6 and 8 number of blades. L and T) F L T-1 L L F L-3 L2 T-1 L T-2 L T-1 T-1 Applying the well-known Buckingham pi theorem. He made use of the following five Pi terms: π ”1 = V d / γ π ”2 = U D / γ π ”3 = U / V π ”4 = T / ( S d ρ V 2 / 2g) π ”5 = P / ( S ρ V 3 / 2g) . was 0. U.

Also. could reach a value higher than 0. He found that the optimum configuration was different from the standard Savonius design not only in the blade shape but also in the overlap distance between blades. The second made use of the predictions of a simple blade-element analysis.3. He found out that the optimum configuration of the Savonius rotor were different from the standard Savonius design not only in the blade shape but also in the overlap distance and spreading space between blades. The optimum configuration tested in his study had an overlap of 30 percent of the projected width of the rotor. Pertinent variables for Savonius windrotor analysis (Khan. installed it in an open area where he could simultaneously measure wind velocity and the power that the windrotor could generated. after a through mathematical analysis of the operation of windrotors based on axial momentum theory.75cm).72cm) opening. The results of all three efforts are compared. They used models with a diameter 1. Their .10cm × 45. One method involved field tests of the actual device with both a resistive and a battery-charging electric load.Tables 3. which he presented in terms of π ”5. His data also showed that the power coefficient. Symbol P d S ρ γ g V U T Description of quantity shaft power width of the maximum projection of the rotor projected area of the rotor density of the flowing fluid kinematic viscosity of flowing fluid acceleration due to gravity velocity of flowing fluid circumferential velocity of the outermost point of the rotor shaft torque Dimensions (in terms of F. Cp. The models were placed in the testsection of a small wind tunnel through a 15” × 18” (38. Aerodynamic blade section coefficients of an actual blade section were measured in a wind tunnel and used as input in the analysis. Jansen (1977). His work was later continued by Dekker (1977).5m and diameter of 2. Reynolds number simulation from model to prototype was considered in detail.40 within in the tip speed ratio (λ) range of 0.55.5 m and a wind tunnel with a length of 10. 1978). He reportedly obtained a maximum power coefficient of 0. L and T) F L T-1 L L2 F L-3 L2 T-1 L T-2 L T-1 LT-1 FL Khan (1978) constructed twelve rotor models each with a height of 12-1/6 inches (30. and good agreement is shown. performed scale model tests of horizontal axis windrotors of various materials and configurations.32 and the maximum tip speed ratio of 1. threebladed windmill rated at l0kW at 30 mph using three methods. he constructed a prototype unit.90cm) and a diameter of 12-1/2 inches (31. The third used a 1/5th scale model which they tested in a wind tunnel.9 to 1. Figard and Shertz (1979) studied the aerodynamic performance of a high-tip-speed.2m.

Since actual field conditions can not be controlled as in the laboratory. The collection of data of the laboratory windrotor models of Jansen (1976) and Dekker(1977) would also be very useful for design of windrotors of similar configurations following the theory of similitude. Gupta. The prototype must however be constructed following the similitude requirements. Hardly any new type of machine or structure is finally built without going through the interactive process of model design. Chowdhury (1987) tested models of Cretan windrotors and established data of their performance. et al. In order to make use of the results of the data obtained by Gupta. Conclusion In the era of high speed and powerful computers. It has defined the technique of model design. (2006). They reported that the hybrid Savonius-Darrieus rotor had higher power coefficient than the Savonius rotor under the same test conditions.. Dekker even indicated the value of the Reynolds Number of point of maximum Cp. et al. It has helped in organizing and simplifying experiments. testing. engineers can not do away with models. installation and actual use of Cretan windrotor system. It was a two-bladed system with 8cm bucket diameter and 20cm in height with provision for overlap variation. also following the principles of similitude. The Savonius-Darrieus model consisted of a two-bladed Savonius rotor with bucket diameter of 8cm and height of 10cm in the upper part.24. Figard and Shertz (1979) were able to demonstrate the correlation among data obtained from actual field tests and those from analytical and similitude models. (2006) performed an experimental study to compare the performance of two vertical axis windrotors. Their maximum power coefficient for the Savonius rotor was 21% at tip speed ratio of 0. the maximum power coefficient was 25% at about tip speed ratio of about 0. The Savonius rotor model is similar to the model of Khan(1975). His results can only be useful in the design. a designer has yet to derive the appropriate relationships among the various parameters affecting the performance of the windrotor and the prototype machine. The Philippines is strategically located to have a high potential for a successful use of energy from the wind. For the Savonius-Darrieus.data on the Cp and Ct were all presented in graphical forms as functions of the λ.28. he was only able to obtain limited though encouraging performance data of his prototype windrotor. Khan (1978) conducted laboratory tests of Savonius windrotor models and had constructed a working prototype which he tested in the field. Similitude as an engineering tool has found great applications in the past especially in the field of fluid mechanics and aerodynamics. In the light of the theory of similitude and dimensional analysis. . data on the performance of models can be better interpreted and used to predict the performance of windmills of similar geometry. and in analyzing experimental observations. Although there are already available wind energy systems in the market. until an acceptable prototype is built. in identifying relevant parameters for measurement. construction and testing. and a Darrieus rotor with three curved blades of 10cm in height and 4cm radius. a Savonius type and a Savnonious-Darrieus type. redesign and retesting.

Steering Committee for Wind Energy in Developing Countries. Wind Engineering. 1980. Studies of Aerodynamic Performance of a 10-kW Horizontal Axis Windmill. Wismer. Model and Prototype Performance Characteristics of Savonius Rotor Windmill. Small Farm Irrigation Windpump. A. Dekker. A. Quezon City . Laguna. H. Experimental Study of a Savoius-Darrieus Wind Machine.-Feb. Transactions of the ASAE (132): 201-213. Schafer and R.. M. Das and K.. University of the Philippines at Los Baños. And with the data obtained from tests. A. Smulders. Horizontal Axis Fast Running Wind Turbines for Developing Countries. Thesis (Unpublished). A Technical Manual. The Netherlands.. L.A. 1979. Figard. Proceedings of the International Conference of Renewable Energy for Developing Countries. Steering Committee for Wind Energy in Developing Countries. M. R. Khan. M. C. Rotors Design for Horizontal Axis Windmills. W. and P. D. Jansen. users and buyers can be more guided in their choice of windmill units for installation. Journal of Energy. 1970. A. Adequate data on the performance of these windrotors have to be made available before the fabrication and installation of the actual prototypes. Jansen. Performance Characteristics of Some Sail-and Steel-bladed Windrotors. 1978) Freitag.(Research supported by the Ford Foundation. Belonio.T. D. 2006. Jan. S. Jan. Sharma. R. Chowhury. Proceedings of Alternative Energy Sources Symposium of the International services of Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Science. Elliptical Road. M. College. and J. Dorillo. and D. 1979 (Presented as Paper 78-277 at the AIAA 16th Aerospace. Similitude Studies of SoilMachines Systems.it is expected that other designs will come out. Th. Rico. 1976. W.1977. P. Md. they can not substitute to the laboratory tests involving physical models. Determination of Optimum Design Criteria of a Cretan Windmotor. R. References Aspliden. 75-85. T. The Netherlands. The Netherlands. 2(2). Schetz . A. H. C. 3(1). 1978. 1994. 1978. Steering Committee for Wind Energy in Developing Countries. Department of Agriculture. 16-18. 1977. Similitude studies can help designers and fabricators perform their own tests and thus better understand the characteristics of their designs. Although computational models which can be implemented using ordinary computers are now available. L.) . R. H. 1987. Wind Energy Programs in USA. p. Diliman. K. Gupta.

Bhatti and D. P.. 1986.. Solar Radiation and Wind Mapping of the Philippines. Similitude in Engineering. New York.. G. 2004. Ronald press. England. Glenn.Y. Kothari. Buan and V. Quezon City. International Journal of Global Energy Issues. Murphy.Kintanar. . N. Volume 21. PAG-ASA. Singh.. Wind Power Plant. Bonjoc. 236-242(7). R. 1982. pp. M. S. USA. 1 December 2004 . Oxford. Le Gourieres. D. National Institute of Climatology. Theory and Design. L. Number 3. Desire. R. Pergamon Press. S. Leano. 1950. C. T.

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