Effects of Scale on Model Wind Turbines

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Project Type: 

Students Involved:

Zachary Charewicz University of New Hampshire
Zachary Countie University of New Hampshire
Dimitry Harris University of New Hampshire

Faculty Advisors:

Martin Wosnik UNH - Department of Mechanical Engineering
Scale model turbines are often useful tools when designing full scale turbines and turbine arrays. The goal of this research project is to determine the scale effects that are introduced when scaling down model wind turbines. Creating a realistic scale model turbine and quantifying the effects of scale will help for future design of wind turbines and turbine arrays. The reference turbine on which these turbines were based is the (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) NREL 5MW Offshore Reference Turbine. Turbines of both 1:500 and 1:250 (which equates to diameters of 0.25m and 0.5m respectively) scale were designed using blade element momentum (BEM) theory. The turbines were designed for the highest coefficient of power (Cp) at a given tip speed ratio. Once design was complete, the turbines were tested both in free stream and turbulent boundary layer in UNH Flow Physics Facility. Coefficient of power and thrust (Cd ) measurements were taken for a range of tip speed ratios. The data gathered will potentially improve the understanding of scale effects that are introduced when scaling down multi-Megawatt wind turbines.


Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant


  • Effects of scale on model wind turbines (2014). Zachary Charewicz, Dimitry Harris and Zachary Countie. Advisors: Martin Wosnik and John J. Turner.