Autorotation, autogyro, wind energy, experiments, design of experiments


While wind energy has emerged as a popular source of renewable energy, the traditional wind turbine has an inherent limitation, namely that it only generates power in the presence of sufficiently high and consistent wind speeds. As a result, wind farms are typically built in areas with a high probability of the required wind speeds, which are geographically sparse. One way of overcoming this drawback is to tap into the energy available in winds at high altitudes which are not only consistent and of high magnitude, but also globally pervasive. An airborne wind energy device based upon the phenomenon of autorotation could potentially be used to exploit the abundance of wind of energy present at high altitudes. The work in this thesis first presents our study of a tethered-airfoil system as a candidate airborne wind energy (AWE) system. A mathematical model was used to show the feasibility of energy capture and the stability of the device in a wind field. Subsequently, the research identified the principle of autorotation to be better suited for high altitude energy harvesting. To this end, the thesis first presents a theoretical basis of the principle of autorotation, which is developed from existing models in literature. The model was adapted to predict aerodynamic conditions when used for harvesting energy. Encouraging simulation results prompted the main emphasis of this thesis, namely design of an experimental framework to corroborate the theory. Several experiments were devised to determine basic performance characteristics of an autogyro rotor and the data from each experiment is presented. A lab-scale experimental setup was developed as part of this thesis. The setup, consisting of a flapping-blade autogyro rotor and sensors, was used to acquire preliminary aerodynamic performance data. It is envisioned that refinements to this setup will ultimately provide a means of directly comparing analytical and experimental data. In this regard, we provide conclusions and make comments on improvements for future experiments.


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Graduation Date





Das, Tuhin


Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering; Mechanical Systems








Release Date

May 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic