Grading: Research work (100 pts)

  • 25 pts: Completed on time (Individual grade)  People are counting on you sharing the knowledge you’ve gained
  • 50 pts: Individual effort (Individual grade)  Observable. Effort to do your share of work
  • 25 pts: Collecting, organizing, and displaying of research data and use of tools/technology (group grade)  Following directions. Completeness of work. Formatting of data on presentation page. Use of pitch tool. Use of wind tunnel and software. Use of software/instructions to create graph. Use of screenshot software to correctly save images to use on presentation page. Following turn-in procedures

Grading: Research Presentation 

  • 25 pts: Individual participation in presentation.  No talk, no points. Participation shows pride in work, acquisition of knowledge, and ownership to the task at hand

Learn from the Past 

Look at the past data from LBMS wind turbines.  Before opening the files, what questions might you pose?  What predictions do you have about what affects power output/performance?

Task:  Click on the file below.  Using sorting techniques, sort the data by variable at least 3 different ways.  Note what ‘place’ the turbines of each ‘sort’ you did.  Can you make any conclusions about that variable?

Google Sheets Data     (Must be logged into your district Google account)

Gear Setups  (via Google Photos – may take some time to load)


To work in groups of 1-2 students to study one variable of wind turbines. (See below) You will test your variable in the wind tunnel, collect data, analyze the data, and make a presentation to the rest of the class, making recommendations concerning your findings, as well as citing any possible flaws.  Research is set up as a scientist would, by posing a hypothesis, testing, making conclusions as to if your hypothesis was correct, and sharing that with classmates.

Your presentation will be in any of the following formats:  Google Slides, Google Sheets, Google Docs, Prezi, or any viable ‘online’ format that can be viewed from the web.

The purpose is to gain knowledge of wind turbine terminology, learn how to safely use tools and the wind tunnel, gain experience in what variables affect turbine performance, and to study math/science connections.

Research Steps and Procedures

Click here.  When logged into Chrome, make a bookmark to get back to this page quickly

List of Variables to Study

Blade shape Do curved surfaces do better than flat/rectangular surfaces?
Blade shape – airfoil Flat surfaces vs curved surfaces
Blade Material Cardboard? Balsawood? Plasticized cardboard? Mat board?
Blade length Do longer blades do better than shorter blades?
Blade Twist Results in blade root having different pitch than wing tip
Blade width Do wider blades do better than ‘skinnier’ blades?
Blades, number of Do a lesser amount of blades do a better job than many blades? Is this only because of a weight factor?
Blade pitch At what angle of pitch does a blade produce the most amount of energy?
Weight Given all other variable stay the same, are lighter blades more efficient?
Gap between hub and blades Does the gap in-between the hub and the blade matter?
Wind speed – distance What are the wind speed patterns created by the ‘Challenge’ fan at various distances?
Wind speed – laterally What are the wind speeds at various places within the wind tunnel?
Spinner Would a spinner on the hub increase efficiency?
Dowel rod Short or long? How much does the dowel weigh?
Dowel Rod Is it better to attach the dowel to the middle of the blade? The edge? In a cut-out?
Balance What are the factors that cause a turbine to be unstable / unbalanced?
Tip shape What’s the tip shape that allows the blade to produce the most energy?
Alternating blade pitch Can alternating pitches of adjacent blades increase performance? What is the optimal pitch difference?
Gears vs non-gears Compare the energy output of a non-geared to a geared turbine
Gears – length of blade What is the optimal length of blade for a geared turbine?
Gears – number of blades What is the optimal number of blades for a geared turbine?
Glue Compare hot glue to white glue
RPM What role does RPM play in total power output?

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