Intel Science Talent Search 2011 Finalists


Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller North Carolina

Western Alamance High School

Matthew Miller, 18, of Elon, studied how the placement of small bumps on the suction side of the base section of wind turbine blades could dramatically affect their aerodynamics for his Intel Science Talent Search project in engineering. The small bumps act as vortex generators (VGs), and Matthew found that when they are properly located, they increase the efficiency of the blade. He first tested the approach with a propeller in a small wind tunnel he constructed in his familys garage and found that VGs could increase propeller rotation by 10 percent. Then in a university wind tunnel, he showed that the VGs could increase power from a wind turbine blade by 23 percent and increase lift of an airfoil by 33 percent. In a test conducted in a farmers field, he showed that VG-equipped wind turbine blades were no noisier than conventional blades and made a more pleasant sound. Matthew is senior class president, president of the National Honor Society and plays varsity tennis at Western Alamance High School. He produces videos for nonprofits and went to El Salvador with Global Health Outreach to help provide medical aid. The son of Mark and Lisa Miller, Matthew was invited by President Obama to be part of the first White House Science Fair in 2010.


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