Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology


Figure from experiment 11 from Renewable Energy with Vernier


You may have seen a few different types of windmills and turbines during your research into wind energy. Some turbines have lots of blades and others do not. Some examples of different rotors are shown below. The area of rotor disc covered by blades in each image is very different in each of these devices. These turbines are designed to do two very different things: The windmill on the left is designed to pump water; the turbine on the right is designed to generate electricity.

The ratio of the total area for all blades to the total swept area is called the solidity of the turbine. Solidity is calculated using the following equation,

\text{solidity} = na/A

where n is the number of blades, a is the area of a single blade, and A is the swept area of the turbine.

In this experiment, you will measure the planform area, the area the blade projects onto the plane of rotation, using the Photo Analysis tool in Logger Pro. You will use the total planform area for all blades to calculate the solidity of the wind turbine. You can then investigate how the turbine solidity affects power output.


  • Measure the total blade planform area.
  • Calculate the total area swept by a wind turbine blade.
  • Calculate solidity of a wind turbine.
  • Investigate the relationship between power output and solidity.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment 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?

Renewable Energy with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Renewable Energy: Why is it So Important?
2What is Energy?
3Project: Energy Audit
4Voltage and Circuits
5Current and Resistors
6Mechanical Power
8Exploring Wind Turbines
9Effect of Load on Wind Turbine Output
10Blade Variables and Power Output
12Turbine Efficiency
13Power Curves
14Power and Energy
15Project: Maximum Energy Output
16Project: Build a Wind Farm
17Exploring Solar Panels
18Effect of Load on Solar Panel Output
19Variables Affecting Solar Panel Output
20Effect of Temperature on Solar Panel Output
21Project: Build a Solar Charger
22Exploring Passive Solar Heating
23Variables Affecting Passive Solar Heating
24Exploring Solar Collectors
25Variables Affecting Solar Collectors
26Project: Solar Cooker

Experiment 11 from Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Renewable Energy with Vernier</i> book cover

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