William Blower

A quick learner, I am always keen to further my skills in any discipline of design or engineering. My latest work has a strong focus towards the simulation of fluids, particularly air, using computational fluid dynamics to help produce sustainable wind energy designs across a multitude of university and personal projects.

I have valuable experience working for SolidSolutions, a SOLIDWORKS reseller in the UK, alongside the largest and most qualified technical team in the world. Here I gained useful skills in consultancy, technical support and customer training over a period of 13 months, all of which fed into my latest final year work.

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Hydro: Aluminium Extrusion Design - Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

A collapsible, portable, vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) to charge mobile devices for camping trips and other outdoor activities. Constructed from strong, lightweight extruded aluminium sections, the blade geometry utilises an aerofoil profile to generate efficient lift-based rotation.

With mobile technology now a staple of modern life, the ability to use clean energy to charge these devices during activities such as camping, is becoming increasingly popular. Although compact, existing products principally use inefficient drag-based turbine technology and can struggle to rotate fast enough to generate the power required to charge a mobile device. Solar solutions are popular but it is only possible to generate energy in daylight hours.

This turbine uses the dimensional accuracy of the extruded aluminium to its advantage, producing the required aerofoil shape to generate the highest possible rotational speed. Computational fluid dynamics has been used extensively to identify the optimal blade profile, angle of attack and number of blades. The blades fold into the central column on a parallel mechanism whilst the legs fold up to hold them in position. Clevis pins, circlips, bearings and nylon washers ensure that all mechanical motion is low friction, maximising the efficiency and lifespan of the product, therefore meeting sustainability goals.

Tooling Design: Injection Moulding

Design for manufacture should be considered for all products, and with plastic injection moulded components being amongst the most common, certain design rules must be followed to produce a reliable piece of tooling. This tool was designed to manufacture one of the ABS electronics housing components from the ‘Vertical Axis Wind Turbine’ project.

Numerous design rules, equations and industry standards were adhered to, guaranteeing a tool which can consistently produce the required components with minimal manufacturing defects. SOLIDWORKS Plastics simulation was used to recreate the conditions of the cavity as the molten plastic is injected into the tool, allowing for identification of defects such as air traps and underfilled cavities.

To increase the productivity of the tool, additional cooling was required to freeze the plastic quickly, minimising the process cycle time. The cooling system was optimised using computational fluid dynamics, simulating a coolant travelling through a flexible pipe system, lowering the temperature of the core and cavity plates. All of the tooling components were designed using industry standards ensuring the tool can be fitted to a variety of injection moulding machines. SOLIDWORKS CAM was used to simulate a CNC machining toolpath, allowing for an estimation and optimisation of tool manufacturing lead times.

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