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At what angle should the blades of a wind turbine be positioned? Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project attempts to ascertain the optimal angle at which the blades of a wind turbine should be positioned in order to generate maximum power.

Hypothesis

The power generated by the wind turbine will vary depending on the angle at which the blades are positioned and the angle that produces the maximum power output, is 45 degrees.
 

Scientific Terms

Turbines, kinetic energy, dynamo, DC motor

Background

Wind power

Wind power is produced when the kinetic energy of the  wind is converted into electrical power or mechanical power. Wind turbines are used to generate electrical power while wind mills are used to generate mechanical power from the wind.

Wind energy comes from the kinetic energy of air molecules.  This energy is able to drive the blades of a turbine,  causing them to rotate. In so doing, the kinetic energy of the wind or air molecules is converted into mechanical energy. This mechanical energy can be further converted into electrical energy by connecting the rotating blades of the turbine to the shaft of a DC motor or dynamo, through a gearing system.

A basic wind turbine system consists of a tower, the blades, a generator, a gear box, cabling and  electrical control circuits. The tower provides the required elevation so that the blades can be exposed to stronger winds (generally, the higher the altitude, the stronger the wind). .

Harnessing wind energy is a more environmentally friendly to generate energy (as opposed to burning fossil fuels) because it does not emit any pollutants. Hence, it is important that we understand how to efficiently generate sufficient levels of energy from wind turbines and other sources of "clean energy". 
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
90
Time required:
2 days for preparation, 1 day to conduct the science project experiment
Material availability:
May be purchased from a hobby store
Safety concerns:

Ensure the blades are properly fixed to the wooden block so that they do not come loose when rotating. Drilling and sawing should be performed by an adult. Safety goggles/gloves should be worn.