Due to the increasing demand for alternative energy sources and the reliability of wind turbines, the performance of different horizontal-axis wind turbine blade designs were investigated and compared through computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and wind tunnel testing. The Eppler 423 airfoil was of particular interest. In avionics the blade has been associated with high lift and a low tendency to stall, yet little is known about its performance in wind turbines. In both physical testing and ANSYS CFX 11.0 analysis, the airfoil significantly outperformed a Nordtank 41/500 turbine blade. Wind tunnel tests were performed on 12-inch diameter ABS polymer prototypes, created with a 3D printer. To exaggerate the features of each prototype and obtain more measureable differences in turbine performance, the blades are scaled down more in the radial direction than in the profile section directions. The Eppler 423 airfoil design was tested at different blade base angles. The testing identified an optimum power production for a blade base angle of 25°. In the ANSYS CFX computer simulations, the moments on to the turbine blade due to the incoming air allowed for the power generated and the coefficient of power (Cp) to be determined and compared. The Eppler profile outperformed the Nordtank blade profile in these simulations.

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