Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

James Smith

Committee Co-Chair

Gerald M Angle, II

Committee Member

Kenneth H Means

Committee Member

Gregory J Thompson

Committee Member

J P Wilhelm


Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs) have experienced a renewed interest in development for urban, remote, and offshore applications. Past research has shown that VAWTs cannot compete with Horizontals Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs) in terms of energy capture efficiency. VAWT performance is plagued by dynamic stall (DS) effects at low tip-speed ratios (lambda), where each blade pitches beyond static stall multiple times per revolution. Furthermore, for lambda<2, blades operate outside of stall during over 70% of rotation. However, VAWTs offer many advantages such as omnidirectional operation, ground proximity of generator, lower sound emission, and non-cantilevered blades with longer life. Thus, mitigating dynamic stall and improving VAWT blade aerodynamics for competitive power efficiency has been a popular research topic in recent years and the directive of this study.;Past research at WVU focused on the addition of circulation control (CC) technology to improve VAWT aerodynamics and expand the operational envelope. A novel blade design was generated from the augmentation of a NACA0018 airfoil to include CC capabilities. Static wind tunnel data was collected for a range of steady jet momentum coefficients (0.01≤ Cmu≤0.10) for analytical vortex model performance projections. Control strategies were developed to optimize CC jet conditions throughout rotation, resulting in improved power output for 2≤lambda≤5. However, the pumping power required to produce steady CC jets reduced net power gains of the augmented turbine by approximately 15%. The goal of this work was to investigate pulsed CC jet actuation to match steady jet performance with reduced mass flow requirements. To date, no experimental studies have been completed to analyze pulsed CC performance on a pitching airfoil.;The research described herein details the first study on the impact of steady and pulsed jet CC on pitching VAWT blade aerodynamics. Both numerical and experimental studies were implemented, varying Re, k, and +/-alpha to match a typical VAWT operating environment. A range of reduced jet frequencies (0.25≤St≤4) were analyzed with varying Cmu, based on effective ranges from prior flow control airfoil studies. Airfoil pitch was found to increase the baseline lift-to-drag ratio (L/D) by up to 50% due to dynamic stall effects. The influence of dynamic stall on steady CC airfoil performance was greater for Cmu=0.05, increasing L/D by 115% for positive angle-of-attack. Pulsed actuation was shown to match, or improve, steady jet lift performance while reducing required mass flow by up to 35%. From numerical flow visualization, pulsed actuation was shown to reduce the size and strength of wake vorticity during DS, resulting in lower profile drag relative to baseline and steady actuation cases. A database of pitching airfoil test data, including overshoot and hysteresis of aerodynamic coefficients (Cl, Cd), was compiled for improved analytical model inputs to update CCVAWT performance predictions, where the aforementioned L/D improvements will be directly reflected.;Relative to a conventional VAWT with annual power output of 1 MW, previous work at WVU proved that the addition of steady jet CC could improve total output to 1.25 MW. However, the pumping cost to generate the continuous jet reduced yearly CCVAWT net gains to 1.15 MW. The current study has shown that pulsed CC jets can recover 4% of the pumping demands due to reduced mass flow requirements, increasing annual CCVAWT net power production to 1.19 MW, a 19% improvement relative to the conventional turbine.