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Blade Variable: Pitch

Experiment #5 from Wind Energy Explorations

Education Level
Middle School


Do you know that the air you breathe is actually made up of atoms? When you are running down the street or moving fast on a bike, have you felt wind blowing on your face? What you are feeling is the force of many atoms against your skin.

When blades move through the air, they also push against the atoms that make up air. The atoms push back, creating a force that resists or opposes the motion of the turbine blades. The resistance experienced by blades moving through air is called drag.

Blade design engineers try to reduce the amount of drag experienced by blades while maximizing the power output of the turbine. One of the ways they do this is by changing the pitch or angle of a blade. In this experiment, you will explore the relationship between blade pitch and wind turbine output.


  • Measure power output of a wind turbine with an Energy Sensor.
  • Investigate how blade pitch affects power output.
  • Determine optimal blade pitch for maximum power output.

Sensors and Equipment

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

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This experiment is #5 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