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Exploring Wind Turbines

Experiment #3 from Wind Energy Explorations

Education Level
Middle School


For thousands of years, people have been harnessing wind energy to do work—from traveling around the world on sailing ships to grinding grain into flour using windmills. Today, wind is becoming more common as a renewable energy source through the use of wind turbines.

Wind turbines have four basic parts—a tower, turbine blades, a gear box, and a generator—that function together to convert kinetic energy from the wind into electrical energy. The amount of electrical energy that can be generated by a wind turbine is affected by many variables, which must all be taken into consideration by engineers who design the turbine.

In this experiment, you will use data-collection equipment to quantitatively investigate the effect of fan speed on the power output of a wind turbine.


  • Explore how wind turbines turn.
  • Predict variables that affect how fast a wind turbine turns.
  • Investigate the effect of fan speed on 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 #3 of Wind Energy Explorations. 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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Wind Energy Explorations book cover