A Unique Single Blade Wind Turbine Senior Design Project
Is it possible for a single bladed wind turbine to be just as efficient as its multiple bladed counterparts? A Cedarville University senior design team named Zephyr sought to investigate this question by designing, manufacturing, and testing a single blade windmill based on a concept originally introduced by Raymond Holland (1986). This concept uses a single blade with a self-adjusting blade angle of attack and includes multiple degrees of freedom in the blade and body which reduce the stresses and extend the wind turbine’s life. The team consisted of four senior mechanical engineering students who had to bring structural analysis, aerodynamics analysis, instrumentation, data collection, and manufacturing together. The prototype was successfully tested to provide insight into the capabilities and difficulties of this innovative design. They experienced many opportunities to practice communication and team building skills throughout the year.