Designing a Carbon Fibre VAWT Model for All Energy 2011 : Part 1
Slipstream S20 Vertical Axis Wind Turbine with 6 metre blades
Spring has arrived, which means the All Energy show in Aberdeen on the 18/19th May is just around the corner. This year, Advanced Composites Group ,Richmond Aerovac and GRPMS asked us if we could bring their stand to life with one of the Slipstream S20 turbines which use their materials in the construction of the blades. The full size turbine is a big machine, so we have gone with the suggestion of designing and building a carbon fibre quarter scale model of the turbine.
As ever we get very excited at the prospect of working with ACG and Aerovac on a new project. It’s a great opportunity to work with the world leading carbon fibre supplier, many of whose materials will be on cars lining up on the F1 grid this year.
Just so you know, carbon fibre is often called composite as the final part is “composed” of many layers of resin infused fibres, we’ll go into this in more detail in the second blog.
That’s the introduction over with, now onto the real engineering work. We thought that you would enjoy reading about the design and manufacture of the turbine. Many of the techniques used are taken directly from the full size wind turbine. We think the best things come to those that wait, so we will be splitting up the process in to six blogs on the run up to the All Energy show.
Part 1: Design and 3D Solidworks CAD model
Our aim will be to describe all the steps required to design and manufacture parts from carbon fibre material. Many companies often keep this type of information close to their chest, so this is an area you don’t often get to see in detail. If we don’t cover an area in enough detail or you need any additional information please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org At the end of the process you will see how we make a model of the Slipstream S20 vertical axis wind turbine.
Project Launch with Tea and Cakes
Every good product design starts with an engineering get together, in this case at our design offices at Dalton Mill with gallons of Yorkshire Tea to help the creative thinking.
Our starting point is the full size Slipstream Energy S20 VAWT with it’s 6 metre carbon fibre blades, manufactured by ACG and shown at the start of this post. If you are interested in the benefits of the turbine over conventional wind turbines, such as in turbulent and gusty wind conditions that are often present in built up areas, take a look at the Slipstream Energy site.
The Design Process:
We chose to follow our standard design process used many times to successfully keep our projects on track and delivered on time. Everyone loves the project manager! and we all know that good project management is key. This is what we follow:
- Understand the project requirements
- Instruction and allocate project manager
- Project Work
- Deliver on time and budget, All Energy 11 is on the 18/19th May.
- Blades and struts made from carbon fibre
- Model to rotate under electronic control
- Safe operation for use in an exhibition environment
- Be able to pack up and transport easily
Solidwords 3D CAD Model of Quarter Scale Model
The first phase of the mechanical design is to produce a 3D CAD model of the turbine, this is a great way to demonstrate our ideas before we dive into the real mechanical design work. We put together 3 options to discuss with ACG and Aerovac. The main aim was to make sure we are all happy with the overall aesthetics of the design, size of the turbine and all tuned into the same thinking.
Below is one of the full 3D Solidworks models of the rotor, struts and base unit. Its a reasonably basic concept with no fancy rendering, but it allows us to show how the turbine would look on the exhibition stand. Take a look at the initial model shown below.
Initial 3D Solidworks CAD Model of S20
What’s in store for part 2 ?
Its going to be a busy week ahead. Now that the basic concept is in place and we know our objectives, we will be looking more closely at the design of the composite parts and how we will choose a suitable material for this application. We’ll take you through the composite manufacturing process and have some photos of the actual parts being made.
Click here for Part 2
Mike Roberts – Engineer at Slipstream Design
About ACG, Richmond Aerovac and GRPMS, part of the Umeco Composites Group.