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Zachary Webster Received Second Place at Denman Forum

Zachary Webster, Aerospace Engineering senior, received a second place award at the 2010 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum held Friday, May 14, 2010.  Zach titled his undergraduate research project, “Numerical Study of the Aerodynamics of the NREL Phase VI Wind Turbine.”  

The goal of the project is to validate the aerodynamic performance of the Phase VI Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  Method of approach for the project is to use Computational Fluid Dynamics software Gambit and Fluent to generate 3D models of the turbine blades and carry out the steady and unsteady flow simulations.  Care is taken to ensure that the flow and the boundary conditions match those of the experiments, in order to ensure accuracy.  The results of the pressure coefficients around the airfoils at various blade radial locations are evaluated and compared to those from the experiments.  The good agreement between the numerical and the experimental data suggests that the model can be used to effectively evaluate the aerodynamic performance of various blade designs and therefore determine the optimum design with improved aerodynamic efficiency.  Furthermore, the results from the unsteady flow simulation could be coupled with the effective far-field acoustic prediction methods for predictions of wind turbine noise.

Denman judges are made up of OSU faculty members, doctoral students and some corporate professionals.  The Denman Undergraduate Research Forum was created in 1996 and is a cooperative effort of The Ohio State University's Honors & Scholars Center, The Undergraduate Research Office, and The Office of Research. The Forum is an opportunity to showcase outstanding student research and encourage all undergraduates to participate in research as a value-added element of their education.

Recognizing that every research project needs a good research mentor, Zach’s advisor, Dr. Mei Zhuang received the 2010 Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.  This award recognizes the leadership and support Ohio State faculty members provide to undergraduate students. To win this award, faculty members must be nominated by undergraduates participating in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, and must demonstrate excellence in teaching and mentorship. A student committee reviews the nominations and selects DURM winners each year.

Congratulations to both Zach and Dr. Zhuang for their outstanding research and mentoring accomplishments!

Other Aerospace Engineering students who participated in the Forum are: Kevin Disotell;  Alvaro Hernandez; Christopher Jensen; Nachiket Deshpande; and Andrew Hermetet.