• Prototype testing of device oscillation in wind tunnel
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Design and build of a wind generator which uses resonant oscillations to produce renewable energy
Group Members
Max Marola, Matthew McDonnell, Alex Leonidas, Samvir Thandi, Teck Yen Ho, Qi Yann Yue
Dr. Davide Lasagna, Dr. Emiliano Rustighi, Dr. Xie Z. Tong
The world now adds more renewable power generation capacity annually than it adds capacity from all fossil fuels combined; there is a global desire to facilitate a transition to renewable energy. Wind power attracts the most attention from investors and governments alike, and innovation in this area attracts significant publicity.

The resonance which caused the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster in 1940 may be harnessed and understood to extract and generate energy. This project investigated the viability of a bladeless wind generator providing a number of advantages over traditional wind turbines; lower start-up costs, fewer bird fatalities and potential for more aesthetically pleasing designs. Our investigation focused on the phenomenon of vortex shedding to extract power through a fluid-structure interaction.

The premise of the design process was to design and build a system that achieved resonance within a certain ‘lock-in’ range of wind speeds, producing controlled oscillations from which kinetic energy could be extracted. Our prototype used a foam cylinder to capture aerodynamic forces and oscillate using a flexible steel beam; energy was converted using a geared system which drove a generator.

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations were conducted to determine the resonant frequency of our design. Design parameters were optimised and the coupling the resonant frequency to the shedding frequency (determined through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations using the University supercomputers) of the vortices produced by the Von Karman effect for the desired range of wind speeds. Physical

Prototype testing of device oscillation in wind tunnel