The implementation of form-flexible airfoil structures on wind turbine blades is extensively investigated by the researchers of SMART BLADE. We investigate both the aerodynamic as well as the mechanical aspects of such solutions and we try to develop innovative ideas which will allow the simple, efficient and cost effective implementation of such elements. We take all the operational parameters into account in order to be able to provide a flow control solution which is able to perform at any location worldwide.
We have already developed airfoils with form-flexible trailing edge flaps as well as form-flexible leading edge elements. These airfoils are being developed and investigated by means of numerical simulation software and the results are always correlated with our wind tunnel measurements. The use of both numerical and experimental techniques for the development of these solutions means that we can achieve time-efficient design processes while minimizing the simulation discrepancies via real-life measurement correlations.
The successful implementation of form-flexible airfoils on wind turbine blades will lead to significant structural load reduction due to reduction of the aerodynamic loads. This means that the whole wind turbine structure can be redesigned and re-dimensioned with considerable material and cost savings. Furthermore our ultimate aim is to completely eliminate the pitch control principle from the wind turbines of the future. Wind turbines equipped with smart blades will be able to dynamically morph their blades in order to achieve optimal structural load and energy output performance.
The SMART BLADE Research & Development team published and presented a scientific paper at the 48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum
and Aerospace Exposition in Orlando (Florida) in January 2010.