YouTuber Robert Murray-Smith experiments with alternative designs for wind turbine blades in a video. The starting point is the conventional design with three rotor blades that has dominated since the 1980s.
As inspiration for improvements, Murray-Smith investigates the flight characteristics of seeds such as maple or ash. The seeds, known as samara, rotate as they fall and have already been used for helicopter models. Murray-Smith scanned a seed in three dimensions and created a 3D model from it.
In contrast to conventional wind turbine blades, the seed blade is thickest in the middle and tapers towards the ends. Murray-Smith printed three of these seed blades and assembled them together with a hub to form a model rotor. In a rudimentary test, the rotor turned in the hand as expected.
According to Murray-Smith, the unusual design certainly seems to have potential. However, the installation of a generator would be necessary to evaluate it as a turbine blade. He has made the 3D model available to download free of charge on Thingiverse.
The video clearly shows how natural phenomena can serve as inspiration for technical innovations. The practical prototype gives a first impression of how the design works.