Researching Wind Turbines

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Two of the most awesome things (in my admittedly biased opinion) about fluid dynamics are the amazing facilities we build for experiments and the tests they allow us to do. In this video, you get a behind-the-scenes look at one such facility, used for wind turbine research at Princeton.

One challenge of wind turbine research is accurately capturing the aerodynamic effects of full-scale wind turbines in the controlled-environment of a laboratory. At Princeton, they match conditions between their model turbines and the real ones by drastically raising the density in their wind tunnel. This means that running the tunnel requires a series of compressors and storage tanks full of compressed air, and it also means that the wind tunnel itself has to be quite hefty to handle the pressure difference inside and out. Definitely check out the full video for more on their wind tunnel and what it can help them learn about wind turbines. (Video credit: M. Miller and J. Keifer; submitted by M. Miller)

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