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What is the Flap Turbine?
The Flap Turbine (FT) is a novel type of vertical axis turbine (VAT)
where the blades are made of movable flaps.
These movable flaps, when combined together, act as a sail or blade for the VAT.
This type of turbine is also known as a check valve turbine because of the check valve like behavior of the moving flaps.
When the sail is moving in the downwind direction, the flaps are closed and will not allow air (water if the turbine
operates in the water) to pass through the sail. However, when the sail is moving in the upwind direction the flaps will be in the open position and allow air (or water) pass
through the sail.
The most important characteristics of the FT, which is self starting and omnidirectional, is that the flaps are operated by the wind (or water) and
not with complex mechanisms.
I know that there are a lot of interesting ideas about vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) out there and none of them
compete with more traditional three blade horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT). These traditional three bladed HAWT
have many advantages compared with VAWT. Admittedly, these advantages seem hard to beat.
However they have also disadvantages which will be discussed on this site.
There has been and continues to be a lot of investments in the
research and development of three bladed HAWT. It is hard to convince people that there is
a future for the VAWT for large scale energy production. Ignoring the existence of a limited
number of VAWTs, all the large scale energy production is dominated by three bladed
HAWT. VAWTs are limited to small scale (1kw-5kw range) energy
production application, because they are easier to manufacture.
Is there a future for large scale energy production by using a VAWT? Yes there is and
on this site I will try to demonstrate these concepts by using the flap turbine principles to prove this point.
Since there are no
actual turbines which works with the FT principle, other than my crude prototypes, all the explanations will
be conceptual. I will try to demonstrate why this turbine has a future.
Only time will tell whether this is a good idea or another dead end in the VAWT lineage. My hope
is that in the future large scale flap turbines will produce energy for generations to come.
This video is of the worlds first flap turbine. Initially smaller versions of this turbine was built to test the idea, after being convinced that the idea was working this turbine was built in less than three (3) hours. Actually, most of the time was spent cutting the paper flaps and securing them on the wire mesh, which for this prototype is made from a clothes organizer. In the real application the flaps should be built from a light plastic material which will allow for the turbine to work under wet conditions. Considering its simplicity this is the most efficient, versatile, scalable and cheap ACTION type VAWT one can build. This VAWT:
Is efficient because the sails moving in the upwind direction have open flaps which results in minimum drag
Is versatile because there are no mechanisms to move the flaps
Is scalable because you can build in many sizes
Is cheap because sails are not made smaller parts which reduces transportation costs
Can work under low wind conditions where HAWTs are unable to
The video below shows a 9 ft high turbine wich flasp madeof tent fabric. The previous model was 1 ft tall and flaps were made of paper. Next model will have flaps made of plastics.
Below is a video of the flap-turbine with plastic flaps. These rigid flaps eliminate waving and give better performance with respect to flexible flaps made of cloth.
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