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Iowa State engineers are using wind tunnel tests to study the effects of hilly terrain and turbine placement on power production. Hui Hu pulled a model wind turbine from the top of an office filing cabinet. The turbine tower was just 10 inches high. Its three blades were 10 inches in diameter. It was a perfect 1:320 scale reproduction of the 80-meter diameter wind turbines spinning across Iowa, the country’s second-ranked state in installed wind power capacity. That mini turbine is helping a research team led by Hu, an Iowa State Univ. associate professor of aerospace engineering, understand how hills, valleys and the placement of turbines affect the productivity of onshore wind farms.
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