Physical simulations of fatigue and wear of a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) are extremely complex and difficult to evaluate both analytically and numerically. The primary difficulty is simulating the fatigue at the point that the airfoil attaches to the wind turbine structure. Physical testing of VAWT models would provide a simpler method of analyzing the dynamics of a prototype. However, accurate reproduction of the aerodynamic loading imposed on a VAWT body due to the rotational wake is difficult to replicate. To truly incorporate a real world environment, the test facility needs to be exposed to a random, but measurable environment. This leads to the design and development of an outdoor wind turbine test facility. This proposed test facility will consist of an outdoor structure equipped with a 350 horsepower electric motor to turn an 88 inch diameter propeller which will drive the wind turbine model at specific rotational speeds. The propeller will be able to simulate wind speeds over the entire spectrum of 0 to 75 feet per second. The aerodynamic control of the freestream velocity and in turn, the model, will provide an accurate representation of the aerodynamic loadings experienced by the wind turbines tested. In addition to structural testing, this facility will introduce measurable environmental effects, such as wind gusts, pressure variation, and temperature changes to the model in order to create an accurate setting under which the model can be studied.

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