Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Wind Power

Figure from experiment 28 from Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry

Introduction

Power from the wind has become an increasingly popular option for electricity generation. Unlike traditional energy sources such as coal, oil, and gas that contribute large quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, wind power relies on a non-polluting, renewable, ever-present resource—the wind. In recent years, the cost of harnessing energy from the wind has become more affordable making it a viable alternative for many communities.

A wind turbine generally consists of a two- or three-bladed propeller made of aluminum or fiberglass mounted on the top of a tall tower. It converts energy from the mechanical energy of moving air to electrical energy by means of a generator. The wind causes the shaft of the turbine to spin which in turn causes a generator to produce electricity.

Objectives

In the Preliminary Activity, you will determine the power output of a wind turbine that you build. You will use a small motor as a generator and a pinwheel as the turbine. The power output of the pinwheel can be determined by measuring the current and voltage produced by the motor. Power is determined using the relationship

{\text{P  =  V I}} {\text{Power}} = {\text{voltage }} \times {\text{ current}}

Where power has units of watts (W), voltage has units of volts (V), and current has units of amperes (A).

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will first use reference sources to find out more about wind power before you then choose and investigate a researchable question.

Sensors and Equipment

This investigation features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry »

Investigation 28 from Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry Lab Book

<em>Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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