Wind Energy

Renewable Energy Design: Wind Turbines

Students are introduced to renewable energy, including its relevance and importance to our current and future world. They learn the mechanics of how wind turbines convert wind energy into electrical energy and the concepts of lift and drag. Then they apply real-world technical tools and techniques to design their own aerodynamic wind turbines that efficiently harvest the most wind energy. Specifically, teams each design a wind turbine propeller attachment. They sketch rotor blade ideas, create CAD drawings (using Google SketchUp) of the best designs and make them come to life by fabricating them on a 3D printer. They attach, test and analyze different versions and/or configurations using a LEGO wind turbine, fan and an energy meter. At activity end, students discuss their results and the most successful designs, the aerodynamics characteristics affecting a wind turbine’s ability to efficiently harvest wind energy, and ideas for improvement. The activity is suitable for a class/team competition. Example 3D rotor blade designs are provided.

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Music: Straighty Baby – Audionautix

Straighty Baby by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (