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Christoph Burger who received his PhD in 2007 developed a computer code to optimize the propulsion system and air frame for an organic aerial vehicle (OAV). This effort included an excursion into the field of wind turbines and a spin-off of this effort is a tool for optimizing full scale aircraft propellers. The technical approach used in this effort has been to model the performance of propeller and wind turbine blades using vortex lattice theory and then allow a genetic algorithm to select an optimum design by selecting blade geometry parameters and driving the vortex lattice code to produce performance data for candidate designs. Some sample results from a paper presented at the 4th AIAA Energy Conversion Conference in San Diego, CA in June 2006 on the topic of wind turbine optimization are shown schematically in the figure below. In this figure, the wake of an optimized wind turbine blade is depicted.
Wake from a single blade for the advance ratio optimization for a 70 meter diameter machine.