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Blade Variable: Shape

Experiment #8 from Wind Energy Explorations

Education Level
Middle 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 into flour more than 2,000 years ago. The blades at that time were made out of wood or fabric stretched over a wooden frame and had a very large surface area.

Over time, advances in technology have resulted in changes in the shape of blades as well as 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 and come in a variety of sizes and shapes based on their intended use.

In this experiment, you will use your data from previous experiments to design blades with different shapes. You will discover which blade shape produces the most power.


  • Measure wind turbine power output with Go Direct Energy.
  • Investigate how blade shape 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 #8 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