MSc Thesis: Airfoil Selection for a Small-Scale Vertical Axis Wind Turbine; A Numerical Study


REYKJAVIK, June 4 - MSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering candidate, Babak Ranjbaran, successfully defended his master's thesis where he performed a numerical study for airfoil selection for a small-scale vertical axis wind turbine. Babak's work was supervised by Dr. Ármann Gylfason from Reykjavik University with examination by Dr. Yonatan Afework Tesfahunegn from Reykjavik University.

DSC_0478-2Babak's thesis project is conducted with methods to select an airfoil for a small-scale vertical axis wind turbine to operate at relatively low tip-speed ratios. With the application of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), he compared the aerodynamic performance of the selected airfoil to the commonly used NACA 0018 airfoil.

His approach was to focus on the tangential force employed in the selection of the airfoil. To do so, a novel approach was developed by Babak using MATLAB software to use NACA four-digit algorithm to generate the geometry of the airfoil and, then by the implementation of Xfoil V6.99 to the code, the values ​​of tangential force coefficient for a range of angles of attack were predicted. These values ​​were then compared to the NACA 0018 airfoil. Babak chose the airfoil that yielded the highest tangential force coefficient at a range of angles of attack.

His selected airfoil (NACA 1920) was then used to model an H-type Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT), which was then used for CFD simulations. Babak's results showed that the power coefficient of the turbine equipped with the selected airfoil increased and the maximum relative growth rate of 56% occurs at the tip-speed ratio of 1 with respect to the rotor with NACA 0018 airfoil.

Congratulations Babak for an excellent thesis defense!


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