Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard Wilk




turbine, design, vertical axis, engineering, wind power


This project modeled and analyzed several vertical axis wind turbine designs with the goal of improving performance. The two main turbine designs that were tested are the Savonius and Darrieus turbines. Both are vertical axis designs one operating on the principle of drag the other on the principle of lift. Through research and a series of wind tunnel tests I analyzed the impact of various design variables such as blade number, blade tilt angle, and outer diameter over a range of wind velocities. Goals for the final design included the ability to self start at relatively low wind speeds, and to reduce negative drag during rotation in order to reach high rotational velocities. Although my test results turned out to be inconclusive in determining the relative power and efficiency of my turbine designs, I was able to collect other analytical and observational data. The following report summarizes the design and test procedures I followed, the results found from these tests, and further recommendations for future experimentation.