Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Turbine Efficiency

Figure from experiment 12 from Renewable Energy with Vernier


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

\text{Efficiency} = \frac{\text{Electrical power transformed by the wind turbine}}{\text{Power available in the wind}}

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.

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 12 from Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Renewable Energy with Vernier</i> 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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