Type of research:
-Construct a model:
Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics
1.1 Our Background Research
We want to find out which set of wind turbine blades is the most effective and efficient. Making a small prototype would be a breeze.
Wind is the movement of air from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. In fact, wind exists because the sun unevenly heats the surface of the Earth. As hot air rises, cooler air moves in to fill the void. As long as the sun shines, the wind will blow. And as long as the wind blows, people will harness it to power their lives.
Ancient mariners used sails to capture the wind and explore the world. Farmers once used windmills to grind their grains and pump water. Today, more and more people are becoming fans of this renewable energy, and you will be blown away by the statistics. Over the past decade, wind turbine use has increased at more than 25 percent a year. Still, it only provides a small fraction of the world's energy.
Most wind energy comes from turbines that can be as tall as a 20-story building and have three 200-foot-long (60-meter-long) blades. These contraptions look like giant airplane propellers on a stick. The wind spins the blades, which turn a shaft connected to a generator that produces electricity. Other turbines work the same way, but the turbine is on a vertical axis and the blades look like a giant egg beater. As wind turbines are a very popular and renewable source of energy in many countries, and many governments, companies and the average commoner have used it to convert wind energy into electricity as early as 200 B.C.
The amount of electricity these turbines produce is quite shocking. The biggest wind turbines generate enough electricity to supply about 600 U.S. homes. Wind farms have tens and sometimes hundreds of these turbines lined up together in particularly windy spots, like along a ridge. Smaller turbines erected in a backyard can produce enough electricity for a single home or small business.
Wind is a clean source of renewable energy that produces no air or water pollution. And since the wind is free, operational costs are nearly zero once a turbine is erected. Mass production and technology advances are making turbines cheaper, and many governments offer tax incentives to spur wind-energy development, which really makes for a wind of change.
Some people think wind turbines are ugly and complain about the noise the machines make. The slowly rotating blades can also kill birds and bats, but not nearly as many as cars, power lines, and high-rise buildings do. The wind is also variable: If it's not blowing, there's no electricity generated.
Nevertheless, the wind energy industry is booming. Globally, generation more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006. At the end of last year, global capacity was more than 70,000 megawatts. In the energy-hungry United States, a single megawatt is enough electricity to power about 250 homes. Germany has the most installed wind energy capacity, followed by Spain, the United States, India, and Denmark. Development is also fast growing in France and China.
Industry experts predict that if this pace of growth continues, by 2050 the answer to one third of the world's electricity needs will be found blowing in the wind.If wind energy was to be producing 20% of the world's electricity, we could get rid of go one-third or more of the greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel power plants.
Citation:Geographic, N. (n.d.). Wind power. Retrieved from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/wind-power-profile/
1.2 Research QuestionAfter taking a much closer look, we got to know that anything that moves, including air, takes energy to move. Energy of motion as we know is kinetic energy.nWind turbines take the kinetic energy out of the wind and converts it to kinetic energy , hence using the electrical energy to do various things. There are 2 basic types of wind turbines: vertical axis (look kind of egg beaters) and horizontal axis (look like airplane propellers).
Horizontal-axis wind turbines are most common.
Each wind turbine has these parts:
-Rotor or Blades, which convert the wind's kinetic energy into rotational kinetic energy.
-Nacelle or the housing for the drive train along with a gearbox and a generator. These are the parts that convert the rotational kinetic energy of the rotor into electricity, just like the motor in this experiment.
-Tower, which supports the rotor and the other parts.
Since we want to research on the size and shape of the blades of a wind turbine some questions that came across our minds are:
-How does the shape of the blades affect the electricity produced by a wind turbine?
-How does the place we put the fan and the wind turbine affect the amount of electricity produced?
-How does the angle at which we place the blades affect the amount of electricity generated?
Citation:Harris, E. Save the earth science experiments. New York: Lark Books.
-The longer and broader the blades of the wind turbine are, the more electricity is produced.
1.4.1 Independent Variables
-Shape of blades
1.4.2 Dependent Variables
1.4.3 Constant Variables
-Speed of wind
-Type of motor used
-Type of rubber band used
-The length of the wires used
-The amount of time the voltage is measured