Recent studies have demonstrated that, when rotating around an axis orthogonal to the flow direction, airfoils are virtually transformed into equivalent airfoils with a camber line defined by their arc of rotation. In these conditions, the symmetric airfoils commonly used for Darrieus blades actually behave like virtually cambered ones or, equivalently, rotors have to be manufactured with countercambered blades to ensure the attended performance. To complete these analyses, the present study first focuses the attention on the airfoils' aerodynamics during the startup of the rotors. It is shown that, contrary to conventional theories based on one-dimensional aerodynamic coefficients, symmetric airfoils exhibit a counterintuitive nonsymmetric starting torque over the revolution. Conversely, airfoils compensated for the virtual camber effect show a more symmetric distribution over the revolution. This behavior is due to the effect of the pitching moment, which is usually neglected in lumped parameters models. At very low revolution speeds, its contribution becomes significant due to the very high incidence angles experienced by the blades; the pitching moment is also nonsymmetric between the upwind and the downwind zone. For upwind azimuthal positions, the pitching moment reduces the overall torque output, while it changes sign in the downwind section, increasing the torque. The importance of accounting for the pitching moment contribution in the entire power curve is also discussed in relationship to the selection of the best blade–spoke connection (BSC) point, in order to maximize the performance and minimize the alternate stresses on the connection due to the pitching moment itself.

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