The University of Adelaide has announced a sophisticated new wind turbine experiment to better understand how and why turbines produce noise.


According to the university, the experiment will enable a better understanding of wind turbines,  ultimately leading to the construction of better designed wind farms, improved public policy and new noise control technologies.


Chief Investigator, Associate Professor Con Doolan, says that despite the attention paid to wind farm noise over the recent years, there remains significant gaps in understanding over the source of noise, particularly in the low-frequency range.


"We have a fair amount of knowledge around the noise generation mechanisms but, particularly in the low-frequency range, we don't know a lot about how they combine together," says Associate Professor Doolan.


"This project is aimed at getting to the bottom of what is creating the noise that can cause disturbance. When we know what is contributing most to that noise - exactly what's causing it - then we can stop it."


The experiment will see researchers from the university’s Flow and Noise Group in the School of Engineering build a small-scale wind turbine in the university’s wind tunnel. Researchers will also build an anechoic (a specialist acoustic test room) to measure the emitted sound.


"This will be the most sophisticated wind turbine noise experiment in the world," says Associate Professor Doolan. "We'll be recreating the environment of a wind farm in the laboratory, with all the different noise sources, and then use advanced measuring techniques - laser diagnostics to measure the aerodynamics and microphone arrays for the acoustics - to find out what the strongest noise source is and how we might control it.