MECC – Green Lobstahs- WIND TUNNEL


Project Code name Green Lobstahs
Project Title Design, Development and Test of an Offshore vertical axis wind turbine
Abstract Every year, the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) hosts a competition for university students across the nation to team up to offer an original solution to the flourishing marine energy industry that can play a major role in powering the blue economy. Our team is participating in this competition, with our project idea being provided to us by our sponsor and advisor, Dr. Banafsheh Seyed-Aghazadeh. Our project is split up into two portions: designing and manufacturing a small-scale wind tunnel, as well as developing and testing an offshore 3-bladed vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) prototype. The wind tunnel would be utilized to test two phase flow, a method of mimicking various ocean and wind conditions that our offshore VAWT would experience in real-life conditions. Through multiple weekly meetings throughout the semesters, the team was able to design and manufacture the components for the wind tunnel. The completed components include the inlet, inlet reduction, outlet expansion, square to circle adapter, fan housing, straight test section, as well as the necessary electrical components needed, such as the motor, microcontroller, and other vital items. The potential seen in the offshore wind energy as a supply of clean energy resource has motivated an increased attention in the scientific community towards feasibility studies involving the fluid-structure interactions problem that could be experienced between the complex floating structure of the floating platform the surrounding fluid environment, i.e., wind, current, waves. The focus of this project is on the experimental study of stability and dynamic response of a scaled semi-submersible platform prototype, similar to those used in floating offshore wind turbines located further offshore in deeper seas, that are in interaction with its surrounding environment (wind, current and wave). The experiments were conducted in a recirculating water tunnel at the Fluid-Structure Interaction Laboratory at University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth. The scaled semi-submersible platform prototype was flexibly mounted and placed in the test-section of the water tunnel, using a one-degree-of-freedom air bearing set up that enabled the motion of the platform in the direction perpendicular to the flow. Then the scaled turbine and mooring lines were attached to the platform to be tested in the water-wind tunnel configuration. Flow-Induced Motion response of the system was studied over a wide range of flow velocities and platform’s angles of attack with respect to the incoming flow. The flow-induced motion amplitudes and frequencies were collected using laser displacement sensor at each flow velocity. Flow visualization was conducted at different angles of attack of the platform to study the vortex shedding patterns in the wake of the platform.
Faculty advisor Dr. Banafsheh Seyed-Aghazadeh
Sponsor Dr. Banafsheh Seyed-Aghazadeh
Team lead Sarah Dulac & Ross Jacques
Team Members Andrea Elloian, Chandler Jardin, Kevin Raggiani, Joseph Silveria, Dylan Souza, Tyler Viera
Video link TBA

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