Turbulent flow characteristics and dynamics response of a vertical-axis spiral rotor

Authors: Kang, , Yang, , Wang, Y.W.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Energies
Volume: 6   2741-2758
Year: 2013


The concept of a vertical-axis spiral wind rotor is proposed and implemented in the interest of adapting it to air flows from all directions and improving the rotor’s performance. A comparative study is performed between the proposed rotor and conventional Savonius rotor. Turbulent flow features near the rotor blades are simulated with Spalart-Allmaras turbulence model. The torque coefficient of the proposed rotor is satisfactory in terms of its magnitude and variation through the rotational cycle. Along the height of the rotor, distinct spatial turbulent flow patterns vary with the upstream air velocity. Subsequent experiments involving a disk generator gives an in-depth understanding of the dynamic response of the proposed rotor under different operation conditions. The optimal tip-speed ratio of the spiral rotor is 0.4–0.5, as is shown in both simulation and experiment. Under normal and relative-motion flow conditions, and within the range of upstream air velocity from 1 to 12 m/s, the output voltage of the generator was monitored and statistically analyzed. It was found that normal air velocity fluctuations lead to a non-synchronous correspondence between upstream air velocity and output voltage. In contrast, the spiral rotor’s performance when operating from the back of a moving truck was significantly different to its performance under the natural conditions.