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The Physics of H-Darrieus Turbine Starting Behavior

Worasinchai, Supakit; Ingram, Grant L.; Dominy, Robert G.


Supakit Worasinchai

Robert G. Dominy


This paper provides a resolution to the contradictory accounts of whether or not the Darrieus turbine can self-start. The paper builds on previous work proposing an analogy between the aerofoil in Darrieus motion and flapping-wing flow mechanisms. This analogy suggests that unsteadiness could be exploited to generate additional thrust and that this unsteady thrust generation is governed by rotor geometry. Rotors which do not exploit this unsteadiness will not self-start. To confirm the hypothesis, unsteady effects were measured and then incorporated into a time-stepping rotor analysis and compared to experimental data for self-starting wind turbines. When unsteady effects were included, the model was able to predict the correct starting behavior. The fundamental physics of starting were also studied and parameters that govern the generation of unsteady thrust were explored, namely, chord-to-diameter and blade aspect ratios (ARs). Further simulation showed that the Darrieus rotor is prone to be locked in a deadband where the thrust is not continuous around a blade rotation. This discrete thrust is caused by the large variation in incidence angle during startup, making the Darrieus blade ineffective during part of the rotation. The results show that unsteady thrust can be promoted through an appropriate selection of blade aspect and chord-to-diameter ratios, therefore self-starting rotors may be designed. A new definition of self-starting is also proposed.


Worasinchai, S., Ingram, G. L., & Dominy, R. G. (2016). The Physics of H-Darrieus Turbine Starting Behavior. Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, 138(6),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 29, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 24, 2015
Publication Date Jun 1, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 3, 2016
Journal Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power
Print ISSN 0742-4795
Electronic ISSN 1528-8919
Publisher American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 138
Issue 6