Slider crank mechanism for wave energy conversion (WEC): an experimental study

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrew Carlton Fowler (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Advisor
Sudhir Kaul

Abstract: As more and more sources of renewable energy are being actively explored, there is a need for finding efficient means of converting energy into usable forms. Wave energy is one significant source of renewable energy that harnesses the movement of ocean waves to create energy. One of the possible means of tapping wave energy is the conversion of wave motion into rotational motion by using a wave energy conversion (WEC) mechanism. Currently, there are numerous methods that are being used to convert wave energy into electrical power, the slider crank mechanism is one such method. The slider crank power take-off (PTO) uses a buoy, riding on the waves, to drive a plunger that is connected to the crank shaft through a connecting rod. The goal of this study is to experimentally evaluate the working of the slider crank mechanism by using a wave generator on the flow table as the excitation source. The aim of the experimental evaluation is to comprehend the influence of variables such as wave type, wave generator, buoy geometry, etc. A high-speed camera is used to calculate the rotational speed of the crank and an accelerometer is used to gather acceleration of the plunger. A kinematic model of the slider crank is used to calculate the torque at the crank shaft. The influence of multiple variables has been evaluated by performing a full factorial analysis and using the speed and torque of the crank shaft as the two output variables. Results indicate that the buoy geometry plays a critical role in the speed and torque characteristics of the crank shaft. The flywheel of the wave generator is also seen to be an important variable that directly governs the speed and torque characteristics of the crank shaft. The combination effect of the flywheel and buoy geometry is also observed to be influential. It is observed that out of the thirty-two configurations that have been tested during this study, many configurations result in an intermittent motion of the crank shaft. This implies that a control strategy would be required in a wave energy conversion system that uses the slider crank mechanism to ensure continuous motion for energy generation.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Language: English
Date: 2018
Keywords
Slider-crank, Wave energy, WEC

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