This paper investigates the influence of Reynolds number on performance modeling of horizontal axis wind rotors. A procedure for accounting for Reynolds number effects on airfoil section models was developed and implemented for NACA 0012 and NACA 4415 profiles; both of these models is valid through angles of attack up to 90 deg and for Reynolds numbers ranging from 4 × 104 to 3 × 106. These models were incorporated into both a lifting line computer code, LL200R, adapted for this report. This enabled greater certainty to be obtained in evaluating theoretical performance codes with respect to actual data, as well as providing a means by which a parametric analysis of the relative effects of Re changes on rotor performance to be performed. The use of low Reynolds number section data was found to significantly lower the predicted values of power coefficient, particularly at off-design tip-speed-ratios. For symmetrical airfoils, this effect on performance was only significant for low tip-speed-ratios, while cambered airfoils were affected more uniformly at all operating conditions. Changes in performance were induced by parametric variations of wind speed, rotor scale, and rotor generating mode using the Reynolds number dependent section models. Results show that wind speed variations are more significant for smaller rotors at lower wind-speeds, and section models represented at only a single Reynolds number are more suitable for the analysis of constant RPM rotors.

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