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Equipment

Wind Turbine
AKA: Wind Generator

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Fig 1: A digital voltmeter can be used to read off the voltage produced
Fig 1
Fig 2

Summary

A small dynamo connected to a propeller. Electricity is produced as the blades turn.

Operation

A very simple setup can be achieved by connection a small 3V or similar motor to a clamp stand and a small plastic propeller to the shaft of the motor. Propellers can be bought very cheaply from some lab suppliers or model shops or can be made by cutting a propeller shape from some thin plastic sheet.

Solder some leads to the motor terminals and connect to a voltmeter. If you use a hairdryer or blower to turn the propeller quickly, voltages of up to one volt can be produced.

Using a bit of papier-mache and some paint, a whole wind farm can be created which gives pupils a greater understanding of how renewable energy can be created.

Experiment with different shaped blades to get a more efficient propeller (and therefore a higher voltage). You could even replace the voltmeter with a low voltage LED to give a more visual representation of the voltage being produced.

Technically speaking a ‘wind turbine’ is a device for turning the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical energy. If this mechanical energy is used to make electricity it is then called a ‘wind generator’.

Safety

 CautionThe contents of this page are for information only. Please refer to CLEAPSS or ASE safety advice and/or publications before undertaking any preparation, practical experiment or using any equipment featured on this site or any other.