Science Background Information

Question: Which number of windmill blades, two, three, or five, create more electricity and spin the fastest? Wind is a form of solar energy. There are many different types of windmills. For example, there are modern, horizontal axis, and vertical axis windmills. The sizes of the windmills are one hundred kilowatts to as large as several megawatts. One of the most important components of a windmill are the windmill blades. There are many different numbers of blades that a windmill can have. The more blades a windmill has, the harder it will be for the windmill’s blades to turn.

For example, the old ones used to have four very heavy blades. But now the average number of blades a windmill has is two and three blades. In addition, the lengths of the windmill blades are important too. If a blade is longer, it covers a much larger surface when it turns. So then it can catch more wind with every rotation. Furthermore, the shape of the windmill blades effects the rotation of the windmill. A few examples of the shapes of windmill blades are flat, rectangular, wind shaped, and an airplane wing. Based on horizontal axis windmills, the wing shaped blade is proven to be the most efficient one.

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Also, the vertical axis windmills work very well with every type of windmill blade shape. But the flat and round edged ones give the best performance by the vertical axis windmills. The windmill blades are made with lighter material so the windmill can faster than usual. The common materials that they use are carbon fiber, PVC, and synthetic material. There are new materials that are being tested to find cheaper and more effective solutions. A wind turbine works in an exact opposite way as a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, turbines use the wind to make electricity.

Almost all windmills the produce electricity consist of rotor blades that rotate around a horizontal hub. The hub is connected to a gearbox and generator. They are located inside the nacelle. The nacelle is the large part at the top of the windmill tower where the numerous electrical components are located. The wind turns the blades around and it spins the shaft that connects to a generator. After, electricity is made. A generator is a machine that produces electrical energy from mechanical energy compared to an electric motor which does the opposite. There are many different parts to a windmill. First there is the



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