The Owl Inspired Wind Turbine

Name: Kurrimbaccus Ally

The project introduces us to the study of biomimicry which is mimicking and finding inspiration from nature in design. The study aims to solve the issue of noise pollution from wind farms and the biomimicry strategy is the owl wing because of its unique noise dampening properties.

The study introduces us to a quite common problem faced by most residential areas located around wind farms. Through statistics we have seen the various side effects of living near wind farms and one of them is noise emitted from the turbines. These noises affect the daily lifestyle of the residents through sleep deprivation, stress and many other health damaging issues.

 

Thus, to tackle this issue through biomimicry, the owl wing was chosen due to its special abilities. Compared to other birds, the owl hunts in a different method which is stealth. Instead of using speed it uses its ability to fly with nearly no noise emission to attack its prey during the night. So, what makes the owl able to fly like so is what the study is about and its application to a wind turbine blade.

How could the owl wing noise reduction properties be used to reduce noise from wind turbines?

 

After a thorough research and analysis of the owl wing, we found quite a lot of properties that it had. The structure of the wing itself is larger than the average bird making it glide more instead of flying reducing flap noises. This perfect balance of thin and thick parts make it perfectly balanced and efficient through its flight. Next is its serrations also called the trailing edge. These serrations also help reducing noise when air flows onto the wings. Lastly we have the velvet coating onto the wing also very different from other birds which absorbs the noise of air resistance acting on the wing reducing noise significantly.

 

Then, after having analyzed the noise dampening properties we have applied it to an actual wind turbine blade. A basic one was created and tested to get an initial decibel amount then the prototype was tested to see the change in decibel.

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Background of Study

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Evolution of wind turbines in terms of sizes and consummation of land

Consummation of land

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Why so much wind turbines? One turbine cannot produces enough electricity because its restricted from spinning too fast. And why is it restricted? Because the faster it spins causes more and more noise.

Wind turbine mechanism

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Blades spin, speed of rotation controlled by a gearbox, the blades spin the generator producing electricity which is transferred to a transformer and finally sent to electrical lines.

Biomimicry : The owl wings

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Owls are known as silent predators of the night, capable of flying just inches from their prey without being detected. The quietness of their flight is owed to their specialized feathers.

Wing structure

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The Owl wing structure is larger compared to other birds allowing it to glide more and flap its wings less using less energy and more of the structure itself.

 

The structure is thicker and stronger at the start of the wing for stability and enough strength while it gradually gets thinner allowing for less air resistance and more air flow. This perfect balance gives the owl optimal efficiency during flight.

Wing edges

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Serrations that break the air flow pattern acting on the wing surface reducing noise. Mostly effective at steep angles when the bird is near to its prey ready to attack.

Velvet coat

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Velvet coating on the wings absorbs the air resistance directly on the wing and reducing its noise level