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Blade Design: Material

Experiment #10 from Investigating Wind Energy

Education Level
Elementary School


People have been using energy from the wind to do work for a long time. Evidence has been found showing that windmills were used to pump water and grind grain more than 2,000 years ago. The blades at that time were made out of wood or fabric stretched over a wooden frame.

Over time, advances in technology have resulted in changes in the material used to make blades. In the 1890’s, more efficient steel blades replaced wooden blades. Today, blade technology continues to improve. Blades are now often constructed out of complex materials such as glass-reinforced plastic and carbon fiber.

In this experiment, you will make blades out of different materials. You will discover which of the blades materials makes the most efficient blade.


  • Measure wind turbine power output with a Vernier Energy Sensor.
  • Investigate how blade material affects the power output of a wind turbine.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #10 of Investigating Wind Energy. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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