Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Exploring Wind Turbines

Figure from experiment 8 from Renewable Energy with Vernier


For thousands of years, people have been harnessing wind energy to do work—from traveling around the world on sailing ships to milling grain using windmills. Today, wind is becoming more common as a renewable energy source through the use of wind turbines.

Wind turbines have four basic parts–a tower, turbine blades, a gear box, and a generator–that function together to convert kinetic energy from the wind into electrical energy. As the blades turn, they cause the gear box to turn, via a shaft. The turning gear box causes the generator to turn via a second shaft. The turning of the generator generates electricity.

The amount of electrical power that can be generated by a wind turbine is affected by many variables. In this experiment, you will explore variables that affect how a turbine turns. You will then use data-collection equipment to quantitatively investigate the effect of fan speed on the power output of a wind turbine.


  • Explore how wind turbines turn.
  • Predict variables that affect how fast a wind turbine turns.
  • Investigate the effect of fan speed on the power output of a wind turbine.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

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
18AEffect of Load on Solar Panel Output
18BFill Factor and IV Curve of a Solar Panel
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 8 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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