Oil Flow Visualization on Blade Tips

Three-dimensional airfoils (such as wind turbine blades) exhibit tip loss effects. The flow diverges off the tip of the blade thereby causing tip vortices which increase bending loads. Since the flow is not two-dimensional, the lift in the tip region is reduced, reducing power production of the wind turbine. Winglets have been shown to decrease this effect on fixed-wing aircraft by keeping the flow parallel to the chord over a larger portion of the tip. The project is sponsored by NSERC .