A variable-scale model wind turbine has been developed by the Advanced Structures and Composites Center for testing scale-model floating offshore wind turbines. This model has been designed to be lightweight with a robust individual blade pitch mechanism. Froude number similitude is used to develop scaling relationships, while specialized blades have been designed to produce representative aerodynamic forces despite mismatched Reynolds numbers. Numerical simulations show that the model turbine is able to match the scaled aerodynamic thrust of commercial wind turbines by altering blade pitch and maintaining Froude number and tip-speed-ratio similitude. This turbine has the capability to accurately simulate commercial turbines of varying sizes in complex loading conditions with the additional capability to implement and test new control algorithms.

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