Experimental study of a multielement airfoil for large wind turbines

Brent W. Pomeroy, Gregory A. Williamson, Michael S. Selig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Large wind turbines have thick airfoils at the root section of the wind turbine to support the weight of the blade and structural requirements, and aerodynamic efficiencies are in conflict near the root section of the blades. A four-element multielement airfoil system was tested as a replacement airfoil system for a thick single element airfoil near the root of a 10-MW scale conceptual wind turbine. The system consisted of a main element, two flaps, and a lower strut airfoil element for added structural support, and experiments were performed with the ability to move two flaps to any location relative to a main element. Tests were performed in the University of Illinois low turbulence subsonic wind tunnel with a chord length of approximately 1.5 feet (0.46 m) and a model span of approximately 2.8 feet (0.85 m). Results for the Reynolds number tested indicate that gap size should be no smaller than 2.5% system chord to avoid degradation in performance. A large overhang can adversely affect aerodynamic performance and lead to a loss of lift. Performance decreased if the strut was moved to any location other than the baseline condition. Results indicate that performance of high lift systems is more dependent upon the drag of the system than the high lift aerodynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication30th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference 2012
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781624101854
StatePublished - 2012
Event30th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference 2012 - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2012Jun 28 2012

Publication series

Name30th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference 2012


Conference30th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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