In The Wind
Discovery Place Science
Did you know that naturally occurring wind is a great source of clean and abundant energy? Across the world, wind turbines are used to harness energy to be turned in to electricity.
To harness wind energy, the blades of large windmills are slightly angled around the face to redirect the flow of air. When the wind is pushed away from the blades of the windmill, the wind must push back with an equal amount of force. This is an example of Newton’s 3rd law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. This push makes the blades rotate, which in turn causes various gears attached to a generator and creates electricity we can use.
At Discovery Place Science, you can check out a smaller version of this that can be powered by YOU. When the capstan winch is turned the windmill blades begin to rotate, creating wind that blows on a neighboring turbine. This turbine not only moves a belt that raises small red balls but also moves a giant sign saying PUSH.
Fun fact: once the windmill starts moving, it takes about 24 rotations to bring the PUSH sign to the top of its ramp!
Further Learning: What would you power with this wind turbine?