I read that the criteria considered when designing a wind turbine airfoil are slightly different to the ones when designing an airfoil for an aircraft. I was wondering, for a low Reynolds number aircraft, is it okay if an airfoil designed for wind turbines were used, and wondered if there were going to be side effects from doing so.
Do not take the origin of an airfoil as a criterium for its selection. Judge it purely on its merits for the intended purpose. If a wind turbine airfoil gives you better L/D than any other, use it.
For gliders you need to cover several design points with somewhat conflicting criteria and select the best compromise.
- Thermalling: The airfoil should allow for a small sink speed at low flight speed. Low structural mass and a high lift coefficient are the most desirable traits here.
- Gliding: Here the absolute drag counts above all else. If your maximum lift coefficient allows for a smaller wing (you should size the wing for a desired minimum speed), a slightly higher drag coefficient at low lift coefficients can still result in a better overall optimum.
- Also pick a planform with moderate taper and select different airfoils for root and tip. Tip airfoils must stall gradually and allow some margin for the aileron.