The scientists of the Prude University and SNL said that the sensors could be active in future turbine blades that have control surfaces and simple flaps, like those on an airplane’s wings, to change the aerodynamic characteristics of the blades for better control. Because the flaps will be changed in real time to respond to changing winds, constant sensor data would be important.

The ultimate goal is to feed information from sensors into an active control system that precisely adjusts components to optimize efficiency, said Purdue University’s doctoral student Jonathan White, who is leading the research with Professor Douglas Adams.

Wind energy is playing an increasing role in providing electrical power, Adams said. The United States is now the largest harvester of wind energy in the world. The question is, what can be done to wind turbines to make them more efficient, more cost-effective and more reliable