Efficiency improvement study for small wind turbines through flow control

Jasvipul Chawla, Shashikanth Suryanarayanan, Bhalchandra Puranik, John Sheridan, Brian Falzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a constant suction technique for controlling boundary layer separation at low Reynolds numbers was designed and tested. This was later implemented on small wind turbines. Small wind turbines need to operate in low wind speeds, that is, in low Reynolds number regimes – typically in the range 104–105. Airfoils are prone to boundary layer separation in these conditions, leading to a substantial drop in aerodynamic performance of the blades. Under these conditions turbines will have reduced energy output. This paper presents experimental results of applying surface-suction over the suction-surface of airfoils for controlling boundary layer separation. The Reynolds numbers for the experiments are kept in the range 8×104–5×105. The air over the surface of the airfoil is drawn into the airfoil through a slit. It is found that the lift coefficient of the airfoils increases and the drag reduces. Based on the improved airfoil characteristics, an analysis of increase in Coefficient of Power (CP), versus input power for a small wind turbine blade with constant suction is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
JournalSustainable Energy Technologies and Assessements
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


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