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Wind Turbines: Effect of Load

Experiment #4 from Wind Energy Explorations

Education Level
Middle School


A load is a device that uses electrical energy to accomplish its task. The simplest form of a load is a resistor. In most cases, resistors are used to adjust the amount of energy that reaches another load connected to the circuit by changing a voltage or diverting a current. Additional examples of loads include lights, fans, heaters, and more complicated devices such as televisions or computers. Any device that uses electricity can be considered a load.

In this experiment, you will measure the power output of a wind turbine and determine the optimal load. That is, you will determine the resistance for which the power output is greatest. You will then compare the optimal load to the internal resistance of the generator.


  • Determine how the power output of a wind turbine varies depending on the resistance (load) in the circuit.
  • Compare internal resistance and optimal load.

Sensors and Equipment

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

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This experiment is #4 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