Student #41 Environmental Science

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1 Student #41 Environmental Science Introduction: Wind energy is the energy extracted from wind using wind turbines to produce electrical power, windmills for mechanical power, wind pumps for water pumping, or sails to propel ships. Within just 9 years, approximately 179,000 wind turbines installed world-wide. In 2001, there were around 24,000 turbines, and by 2010, there were in between 203,000 and 204,000 turbines. That can show you how much of an impact wind energy can have on the world. In the experiment that I conducted, I built a wind turbine and tested the blades efficiencies after changing the materials and pitch. All of this was for The KidWind Challenge. Picture by climate.uu-uno.org During the testing, I learned a lot about the different variables that factor into creating a more efficient turbine blade. Such as drag, lift and torque. I incorporated drag into my experiment more than anything. To ensure that I have as little drag as possible, I tested my blades multiple times with different pitches. I came to realize that the larger the pitch, the more drag there was. Before the testing began, I hypothesized that if I decrease the degree of pitch, than the efficiency will increase because the power of the wind will hit a larger portion of the blade and cause it to rotate at a more constant rate.

2 Experimental Design: Materials: Dowel Rod Rotor Hub Turbine Stand Duct Tape Scotch Tape Cardboard Balsa Wood Exacto Knife Hot Glue Gun Anemometer Meter Stick Box Fan Duck Tape (Balsa Wood) (Anemometer) (Dowel Rods)

3 Procedure: 1. Draw out template of blades. (to scale) 2. Trace template onto blade material. 3. Cut out blades with scissors. 4. Super glue dowel rods to blades. Each rod will be the same distance from the blades. 5. Attach rods to rotor hub. 6. Place hub on turbine blade. 7. Begin tests.

4 Variable being tested: In my very first set of tests, I tested material. The materials that were used were cardboard and plastic; the plastic was proven to give out more efficiency. It was lighter than cardboard so it was blown at a faster speed and at a more constant rate, while the cardboard was heavier because it had a lot of tape on it so it was weighed down and couldn t rotate as much. Cardboard blades Plastic blades The next sets of tests that I conducted were based around pitch. The first pitch was at 30 degrees, and the second pitch was at 15 degrees. The second test (15 degrees) created much more efficiency than the first test (30 degrees) Balsa Wood blades

5 Efficiency (percent) Data Analysis: Pitch (degrees) (%) Efficiency As I increased the pitch of my blade from 15 degrees to 30 degrees my efficiency decreased from 38.62% to 23.53%. The graph to the right showcases the change in pitch vs. the change in efficiency. The rate of Graph Efficiency of Wind Turbine When Changing Pitch y = x Pitch of Blade (degrees) change of the graph above is In order to calculate the rate of change, I calculated the slope with the formula:. The negative slope calculation proves that the efficiency is decreasing as I increase the degree of pitch of the blade. Now, with the slope, I am able to calculate the line s equation, using the formula,. In this formula, means slope, and the points help find the equation. To find the equation, with my data, I do the following: Having this information, I can now predict what the efficiency would be if I tested blades of other pitches. To find the predictions, I must use the equation that I just found: To find what the efficiency would be with a 20 degree pitch I would do the following: The table below shows a few predictions for efficiency using the same equation as shown above. ( ) Pitch (Degrees) Efficiency (Percent) Table 1

6 Efficiency (percent) In my first testing I measured weight: Weight (grams) (%) Efficiency For this test, I decreased the weight of the blade from 18 grams to 13 grams, and the efficiency also decreased. It was at 0.053% efficiency when the blades weighed 18 grams, and it was at 0.037% efficiency when the blades weighed 13 grams. Graph 2 shows the change in weight vs. the change in efficiency. The rate of change in the graph to the right is Effect of Weight on Efficiency 0.06 y = x Graph 2 Having graphs from both tests proves 0 which one had a better outcome. Graph seems as if it was a part of a more Weight (grams) efficient test, however graph 1 is of the better outcome. Test two did decrease in efficiency by over 10%, but it still gave out much more power. Test one had less than 1% efficiency overall, when test two had over 20% efficiency.

7 Conclusions: To conclude everything said. During testing of my wind turbine blades, I learned many new things about wind energy. I now know that if you want any power from a turbine, you must have well planned out blades. I also learned about the factors that go into making efficient blade designs; pitch, material, drag, lift, torque, etc. One uncertainty that I have is why the efficiency went up in percentage so much from the first tests to the second tests. In the first testing period, the efficiency was less than 1%, and in the second testing period, it was more than 25%. It could be of many reasons. In the first test, I had a very large gap in between the bottom of the blade and the rotor hub due to the length of the dowel rod; however, in the second test, I shortened it by a lot. Big Gap Big Gap Small Gap Also, in the first test, I had plastic and cardboard blades, but in the second test, I had balsa wood. The final factor that I m aware of that could have changed the efficiency so much is the pitch. The first test, I had a pitch of 30 degrees and in the second, I had 15 degrees. So I really don t know exactly why the efficiency increased so much. If I were to test again, I would do at least 3 sets of tests. In each test, I would change one of my uncertainties to conclude on which impacted the efficiency increase the most.

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