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On the Behavior of Pliable Plate Dynamics in Wind: Application to Vertical Axis Wind Turbines


Cossé, Julia Theresa (2014) On the Behavior of Pliable Plate Dynamics in Wind: Application to Vertical Axis Wind Turbines. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/X7S3-CS74.


Numerous studies have shown that flexible materials improve resilience and durability of a structure. Several studies have investigated the behavior of elastic plates under the influence of a free stream, such as studies of the fluttering flag and others of shape reconfiguration, due to a free stream.

The principle engineering contribution of this thesis is the design and development of a vertical axis wind turbine that features pliable blades which undergo various modes of behavior, ultimately leading to rotational propulsion of the turbine. The wind turbine design was tested in a wind tunnel and at the Caltech Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy. Ultimately, the flexible blade vertical axis wind turbine proved to be an effective way of harnessing the power of the wind.

In addition, this body of work builds on the current knowledge of elastic cantilever plates in a free stream flow by investigating the inverted flag. While previous studies have focused on the fluid structure interaction of a free stream on elastic cantilever plates, none had studied the plate configuration where the trailing edge was clamped, leaving the leading edge free to move. Furthermore, the studies presented in this thesis establish the geometric boundaries of where the large-amplitude flapping occurs.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:wind, pliable structures, fluid-structure interaction, wind energy, vertical axis wind turbine, flapping plates
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Awards:Everhart Distinguished Graduate Student Lecture Series, 2014. Charles D. Babcock Award, 2013. Donald Coles Prize in Aeronautics, 2014.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Gharib, Morteza
Thesis Committee:
  • Dabiri, John O. (chair)
  • Sader, John E.
  • McKeon, Beverley J.
  • Gharib, Morteza
Defense Date:22 April 2014
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Keck Institute for Space StudiesUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05272014-160129404
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8401
Deposited By: Julia Cosse
Deposited On:29 May 2014 21:49
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:59

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PDF (Complete Thesis) - Final Version
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