Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have gained a better understanding of aerodynamics and their applications in wind turbines, thanks to a trip to Poland.
During a three-day workshop, organised by the GUST (Generative Urban Small Turbine) team at Lodz University of Technology and #DMUglobal, 12 students had the chance to learn from experts in the field and to try out new software.
Students worked in groups to carry out simulations in QBlade (wind turbine calculation software), before designing blades for a 3-bladed Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine using XFOIL (an interactive design and analysis program) and SolidWorks (a modelling and engineering program).
Their designs were 3D-printed overnight, allowing the students to test their turbines the next day, collecting valuable data along the way.
On the final day students presented their results and calculations to professionals from the university’s Institute of Turbomachinery, receiving valuable feedback and advice.
At the end of the workshop, students toured the university’s Process and Environmental Engineering Faculty, gaining insight into some of their current experiments.
Second-year student Jonathan Hackett said: “One highlight of the trip was the opportunity to test our 3D-printed wind turbine blades in a wind tunnel.
“Using 3D printers allowed us to verify experimental data against our theoretical data in an amazingly short amount of time. This opened my eyes to the benefits of rapid prototyping and 3D printing.
“Another highlight was going to a local restaurant and spending time with the Polish students and lecturers in a more casual setting. We got to know them and got to compare the differences and similarities between studying in the UK and Poland."
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Final-year student Antreas Chatzitofi said: "It was an amazing experience. We got a better understanding of how wind turbines work and how many factors have to be taken into account for their design."
During the trip, students also took the opportunity to explore the Leonardo da Vinci: the Energy of the Mind exhibition at the EC1 Lodz museum, as well as to visit the Science and Technology Centre outlining the history of the former Lodz power plant.
Nicola Falciani, another second-year student, said: “It was an amazing and unique experience, especially eye-opening to see how and what engineering students study in Poland.
“I particularly enjoyed seeing the EC1 museum and learning about how a steam power station worked, especially seeing the original boilers and turbine."
Anna Strzelecka, DMU lecturer and trip lead, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students and I’m very thankful to Dr Piotr Domagalski and Dr Maciej Karczewski, our colleagues in Poland who made it happen.
“Students are fortunate to have gained valuable insights from GUST, a team which has won the International Small Wind Turbine Contest in Holland twice and is taking part again this year.”
Posted on Friday 20th April 2018