The Wake of a Single Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Open Access
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Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) pose various advantages over traditional horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs), including their smaller size and footprint, quiet operation, and ability to produce power under a greater variety of wind directions and wind speeds. To determine the optimal spacing of an array of VAWTs for maximum power output, an understanding of the fundamental wake structure of a single VAWT is needed. This study is among the first attempts to experimentally visualize the wake of a VAWT using stereo particle image velocimetry (PIV). A scale VAWT is placed inside a wind tunnel and a motor rotates the scale model at a constant rotational speed. Wake data at several Reynolds numbers and tip speed ratios indicate that vortices are shed by each blade of the spinning VAWT, demonstrating significant differences between the wake of a VAWT and a spinning cylinder.