Creating Clean Energy

Our homemade wind turbine is now completely finished. Through the process of induction it is able to create electricity. Induction is the process in which a conductor passes though a magnetic field and electrons get kicked out of the conductor, creating electricity. The amount of electricity produced can be represented by Faraday’s equation E= Blv, where E represents electricity, B represents the strength of the magnet, L is the length of the conductor, and v is the velocity of the conductor moving through the magnetic field. imageimage On our wind turbine we have magnets attached to a rotor, which is the part of the turbine that spins,and copper coils attached to the stator , which is the stationary piece of the turbine. When the rotor spins the magnets move next to four coils of copper wire. The copper wire disrupts the magnetic field and kicks out some electrons which produce electricity. Therefore we can produce more electricity if we image add stronger magnets, increase the length of the copper coils , and increase the speed at which the rotor spins. Our turbine creates alternating current, which is current that changes direction, as opposed to direct current, which is when the current only flows in one direction. Voltage is the amount of potential energy between points on a circuit. Electric current, or amps, is the flow of electric charge. An analogy comparing current and voltage to water in a pipe can be made. Volts is the pressure of water in a pipe, while current is the diameter of the pipe. Watts is the unit for energy per amount of time, Watts= Amps x Volts. Our wind turbine produces around 4.5 volts and 0.9 amps, so it makes about 4.05 watts. The common household lightbulb takes around 60 watts to light up. Our wind turbine produces nothing close to that amount of watts. Our wind turbine only produces about 7% of the energy needed to light a 60 watt light bulb. Although we are not producing much energy we have still learned about the process of induction and how to create clean energy. We have created our own source of power from scratch, and now have a realistic understand of how much energy we use every day. Here is the link to a video our group made to explain how our wind turbine works.

Our Final Video Explanation

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Generating Our Own Power

In our climate science class we have been working hard to build our own wind turbine that can produce power without using parts from a kit , such as a generator or gears. The wind turbine we are creating is made completely from scratch. To understand how our wind turbine works you must first understand a little about magnetic fields, conductors, and induction.
A magnetic field is an area around an object that has magnetic influence over                       other nearby objects. Conductors are types of metal that allow electricity to flow through them, such as copper.

imageInduction is when there is a change in a magnetic field that produces voltage. The first electric generator revolved around this concept. The first electric generator was made of a horseshoe magnet and a copper disk. The magnet created a magnetic field and the copper disk that acted as a conductor spun through the magnet to disrupt the magnetic field and create voltage. Induction can be modeled by the equation E= Blv where the amount of electricity produced is E, B is how large he magnetic field is, l is the length of the copper coil, and v is how fast the magnets move.

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The first electric generator Source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_disk

Some other concepts to understand are alternating and direct currents, voltage, and watts. Alternating currents are currents that change direction periodically while direct current only flow one way. Our wind turbine uses alternating currents. Voltage is the amount of electric potential per unit electricity has. Watts are the measurement of energy per period of time.
Our wind turbine is made out of a circular spinning component with magnets attached to it, that spins next to two coils of copper wire. The spinning copper could disrupt he magnetic field of the magnets while they are spinning and create voltage.

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Before we began to assemble our wind turbine we made a prototype of a generator. This generator was a magnet that could be spun around a dowel inside a toilet paper roll to power an LED light. Copper wire was wrapped around the outside of he toilet paper roll to disrupt the magnetic field. So far to improve our device we have experimented with ways to attach copper coils to the system. We ended up taping the coils to a piece of cardboard and sticking the cardboard next to the magnets. We have added multiple coils to gain more electricity and are no experimenting with a way to attach blades to the main spinning piece. The blades are what will complete the project and allow it to function without being turned by man made energy. Our project is currently able to generate

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enough power to light an LED light and only continues to improve. While working on this project I learned about what a generator is and how it works. I learned about induction and how crucial it is to make electricity. I have gained experience with building and using my own hands to create something , as well as gained problem solving skills. Our project is close to being completed and has taught me a lot about both creating electric and what it takes to build something that created electricity.

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Finding a Generator

We are now starting a new project. Our goal is to create a homemade version of a wind turbine. Before we can begin construction we need parts to work with. So today we tried to scavenge a motor from a pencil sharpener. When motors are run in the opposite direction they can be used as a generator which is one of the main components needed in a wind turbine.

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We took the pencil sharpener apart to see if we could use its motor as a generator. The motor works on more like a magnet and does not have the rotational component we need for our wind turbine. imageUnfortunately the part will not be useable, but we did learn more about how the inside of a pencil sharpener works.

Wind Turbine

Our goal was to put together a wind turbine from a kit in order to learn about the inner workings and mechanics of wind turbines. When we first began to construct we found that our directions  were unhelpful and confusing. We struggled for a few days to put it together without the directions which  resulted in little progress. We ended up finding a video online that gave us a tutorial of how to put the wind turbine together. While building we found that the wind turbine consisted of two major pieces; the gearbox and fan.

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The fan on our wind turbine consists of six plastic blades aligned in a circle that are connected to a plastic center piece. When putting together the fan there were two different options to use for blades. There were flimsy foldable plastic blades as well as solid and heavy plastic blades. The flimsy blades were light and theoretically would allow the fan to spin more easily, but we ended up using  the solid plastic blades even though they were heavier. We chose to do this  because heavier blades were more stable.

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The wind turbine works by taking kinetic energy and converting it into electrical energy. This occurs when wind blows  through the fan and pushes the blades  in a circular motion. The blades are designed to be a certain shape in order to be efficiently turned by the wind. This shape is similar to an airplane wing and is based around the The Bernoulli Effect. This effect is the concept that fast moving air has lower pressure while slow moving air has higher pressure.  imageIn an airplane the slower current under the wing has more pressure and creates lift while the faster current of top has less pressure. This concept can be applied to the blades of a wind turbine and how the air pushes against them. When the wind blows the circular motion of the fan turning creates kinetic energy. The energy from the fan turns the gears in the gear box which turn the generator. The generator is the component of the wind turbine that actually converts motion to electrical energy.

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The gearbox consists of multiple rotating gears of various sizes that are designed to carry the kinetic energy efficiently through to the generator. Gears of different sizes can effect things like torque and rpm’s. Meaning that by putting different sized gears together you can adjust the amounting force it takes to move the fan.

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By building the wind turbine our group learned about the Bernoulli effect, blades, and gears. We now know that the main components of a wind turbine are its blades, gearbox, and generator. We learned that wind turbines are more complex than they may appear.

 

Building Our Wind Turbine: Day One

Today we began to build our wind turbine. Our group worked well together although a few members were absent. Our wind turbine kit allows for the turbine to be built a few different ways in order to do multiple things, such as using the turbine to move a pully system vs. creating electrical power. Having these options in the directions made it a little confusing to build. Today we put the blades together and began to construct the gearbox.  When we first constructed the blades  we used light foldable plastic blades. These were thin sheets of plastic that would fold in half to form a blade. The foldable blades were lighter and would allow the turbine to spin with less wind, but we found them to be to flimsy and difficult to keep folded. So we ended up using the heavier and more stable plastic blades.

     

Our First Project 

Our first project will be to put together a wind turbine kit. Hopefully we will learn some of the mechanics involved in making wind turbines. Our goal is to eventually build our own creative project out of household items. This kit will give us some ideas on how to do so. Before we can create our own project we need ideas and some experience with building and constructing. This wind turbine kit is the first step to achieving our goal. 

Hello

Welcome to my blog. My name is Ceilidh Kehoe and I am a student at Proctor Academy. This website will be used to document what I am studying in my climate science class.  Hopefully I can share some of the new things I learn.