Aj's Wind Power Project Essay

Alexandra Morquette
Science
September 15, 2008

After going through many brainstorming ideas, I have chosen to focus more on wind energy. The movement of air is what causes wind, and when it moves, you can use that energy, and convert it into electricity to power anything, and in this case, a hotplate. The windmill that I am making contains 2 main parts, a generator, and propellers. The propellers are attached to the axle part of the generator, and the wires from the generator are connected to whatever is trying to be powered (hotplate). The propellers are what catches the wind, and pushes them forward, to create motion. Although larger propellers may catch more wind, they also do not spin as fast, because the wind has to push a heavier weight. Smaller propellers move very quickly, but do not catch as much wind. So, for mine in particular, I will use small medium sized propellers, about 3 inches, which should work the most efficiently. They will be made out of plastic.

As the propellers spin, it makes the axel it is attached to spin as well, turning it in one direction. The axel is the part of the generator that sticks out, and you can attach anything to it. What the generator does, is convert that mechanical energy that the propellers are pushing, into electricity. A motor is very similar to what a generator does. They are the same object, but their uses are reversed. With a motor, instead of the energy coming in from the axel spinning, and electricity coming out, electricity comes in, and makes the axel move.

In order for a generator (motor) to work, it needs electromagnetic energy. Electromagnetic energy is when a normal piece of metal is transformed into a magnet, by putting an electric current through it. For example, when you wrap coil around a nail, and connect it to a power source, such as a battery, it turns into a magnet. When you connect the two ends of the battery through the coil, it sends electricity through it. When that electricity gets to the metal nail, it creates a magnetic field. Magnets have north and south poles, and batteries have positive and negative sides. When the positive side of the battery is connected to one side, that side then becomes the north pole of the electromagnet. When the negative side of the battery connects to the other side, it becomes the south side of the electromagnet. If the source of power is something like a hand crank, or wind, that does not have positive or negative sides, the direction that it turns determines which side of the magnet it is. The more tightly, and the more times you wrap the coil around the metal, the stronger of a magnet you will get.

Within a generator, there are two to three of these electromagnets. There are also two regular magnets, called field magnets, but are on the sides of the generator, and are not attached to the axel, that are in fancier models you find at the store. The electromagnets are right in between the field magnets. When you spin coil, within a magnetic field, it creates electricity. That is why when you spin the axel in a more fancy generator with the electromagnets attached to it, electricity is created. Electricity is also created when magnets are spinning within coil.

I will be making a very simple home made generator, by forming copper wire in the shape of a circle many times, about 2 inches in diameter, and attaching two straight copper wire ends on the sides. On the end of one of those wires, I will attach propellers. When the propellers spin from the wind, that will create the mechanical energy, and make the copper coil move. That straight coil that the propellers are attached to acts like the axel of a generator. I will then mount that on top of two metal wires that are shaped to curve up about 4 to 5 inches, so there is space for the circle of copper wire to move freely, the propellers move freely, and space to put a magnet directly under it. Above the copper wire circle, there will be another magnet, but the opposite pole, held up by ordinary wire hanging over it. The bottom end of the metal wires holding up the copper, will have another set of wires that attach to the hot plate, to transfer electricity to it. The way that this creates electricity is mainly from the circular copper wire, and magnets underneath it and above it. When the copper wire spins from the motion of propellers on its side, it is spinning within a magnetic field from the magnets under it, and above it. When the moving copper is between two magnets, it creates electricity. What the magnetic field does is allow electricity to flow through the copper wire. That electricity then travels down the metal wires, and powers the hot plate.

This motor should work effectively, but there are some errors that can occur. For example, the copper circle can get
stuck. The propellers may be too heavy to attach to the copper wire. The propellers may not even attach well onto the copper wire.
This image is a similar example of what I will be making:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/planet-geek/452307988/

The differences of what I am going to be making and this model, is that this one is being used as a motor, and electricity is being put in from a battery, to make the copper wire spin. Mine will be used as a generator, and electricity will be coming out to the hot plate. Wind propellers are going to be attached, and that’s what is going to be its source of energy. And a second magnet will also be put above the copper wire.

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