Vertical-axis wind turbines
Wind turbines that spin on an axis perpendicular to the incoming flow are known as 'cross-flow' or vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs). Two major advantages of the VAWT design are an insensitivity to wind direction and the ability to mount power generation equipment below the rotor. Their main drawbacks, however, are relatively low efficiency in isolation and questionable mechanical reliability, both of which can be improved by careful study of their underlying physics.
VAWTs have inherently complicated aerodynamics, including phenomena such as dynamic stall, blade-wake interactions, and far-wake bluff-body-like oscillations. In practice, especially in highly turbulent environments, predicting VAWT performance is further complicated by significant fluid-structure interactions that could lead to early structural fatigue. The Araya Lab has extensive experience in analyzing VAWT aerodynamics and is interested in improving their design for urban applications. This activity is synergistic with the other focus areas in the lab and many of the same experimental and data analysis techniques are applied.