Wind turbines extract energy by slowing down the wind. The blades of a wind turbine capture the kinetic energy of the wind and ultimately convert it into electrical energy.
The efficiency of a wind turbine can be defined by the following equation
For a wind turbine to be 100% efficient, all of the energy available in the wind would be converted into electricity. In other words, all of the energy in the wind would be transformed and the wind would stop moving. This is not possible in practice, because a wind turbine needs some wind to pass through the blades in order to rotate. If a rotor stopped all the wind, it would not turn, and therefore it would not be able to convert the wind’s kinetic energy to electrical energy.
Over time, engineers have experimented with many different shapes, designs, materials, and numbers of blades to find which work best. In this experiment, you will explore the optimal blade design to maximize efficiency.
Determine how much power is produced by a wind turbine.
Calculate the efficiency of a wind turbine.
Understand how blade design variables affect efficiency.
Test blade design variables.
Evaluate data to determine which blade design is most efficient.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.