This paper presents the development of a wind tunnel that will be used for wind turbine testing in a controlled environment. The prototype is designed to be able to provide wind speeds of up to 20 m/s (~43mph) depending on the cross sectional area of the tunnel chamber. A 42 inch tube axial fan is driven by a 5hp induction motor using a variable frequency drive to allow continuously variable wind speeds from near zero up to the maximum wind speed. The fan is rated to produce ~25,000 CFM and the corresponding wind speed is therefore dependent on chamber cross sectional area. There will be two chamber sizes possible. One is 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet and the other is 3.25 feet by 3.25 feet. The larger cross section allows larger turbines to be tested while the smaller cross section allows higher wind speeds to be reached. The paper also describes some possible applications of the apparatus in the academic environment.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

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