Solidity effects on the performance of vertical-axis wind turbines

Mark A. Miller, Subrahmanyam Duvvuri, Marcus Hultmark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The variety of configurations for vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) make the development of universal scaling relationships for even basic performance parameters difficult. Rotor geometry changes can be characterized using the concept of solidity, defined as the ratio of solid rotor area to the swept area. However, few studies have explored the effect of this parameter at full-scale conditions due to the challenge of matching both the non-dimensional rotational rate (or tip speed ratio) and scale (or Reynolds number) in conventional wind tunnels. In this study, experiments were conducted on a VAWT model using a specialized compressed-air wind tunnel where the density can be increased to over 200 times atmospheric air. The number of blades on the model was altered to explore how solidity affects performance while keeping other geometric parameters, such as the ratio of blade chord to rotor radius, the same. These data were collected at conditions relevant to the field-scale VAWT but in the controlled environment of the lab. For the three highest solidity rotors (using the most blades), performance was found to depend similarly on the Reynolds number, despite changes in rotational effects. This result has direct implications for the modelling and design of high-solidity field-scale VAWTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE9
StatePublished - Sep 22 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Biomedical Engineering


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