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Electrical Analysis of Wind Power

Lina Jiang and Philip Peterson


For this experiment, students use a DC motor as a generator and various shaped turbine designs to test which design produces the most electrical power. Using a fan to generate the "wind", students attach different blades made of folded paper or card stock to the motor to see how much power is generated.

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Learning Goals

Topics include Ohm's Law Electrical Power Mechanical Power in relation to Wind Speed and a little Thermodynamics

Context for Use

This is an activity based lab that can be used as an introduction into alternate power options related to geoscience topics.

Teaching Materials

Teachers version of the Activity (Microsoft Word 51kB Apr28 09)
Turbine Designs Zip File ( 123kB Apr28 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

The lab requires turbine designs to be tested may be useful to create turbine designs for students to test instead of students creating their own. This will cut the time the lab requires down quite a bit.This lab requires 2-3 hours. An Anemometer is highly recommended.


The emphasis of the grading should take place on the questions asked at the end of the lab. The lab can be difficult to attain good data from depending on the materials used.

References and Resources

Johnson, DeMoss, Sorensen - Earth Science with Computers 2003 Vernier Software Technology Experiment 33 Wind Power