How can a windmill generate electricity?
The windmill generates electricity through the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy. This is done in a two stage process. The first process is the production of mechanical energy. This energy is produced by harnessing the power of the wind, which is done by having the wind move a large turbine that has angled blades. When the wind passes over the blades it pushes the blades and turns the turbine. This is the mechanical energy.
Electricity is produced by moving magnetic fields in one or more directions. This means that in order for a windmill to convert its mechanical energy produced by the wind into electrical energy that a magnetic field needs to be manipulated. Here the process is accomplished by the movement of large ceramic magnets inside the turbine. The movement of the magnets in rapid succession produces an electrical current.
While this is good science, the electrical current is useless unless it can be collected, stored and transferred to electrical devices. This means that in order for a windmill to generate electricity that can be used it will need to be connected to a series of electrical components including a storage device, a concentrating device and a transmission wire.
There are several factors that are related to the design of a windmill generator that will impact its ability to produce electricity. These factors include the size of the windmill and the design of its generator. Other factors that impact how much electricity is generated by a windmill include if it is connected to other windmill generators, the strength and duration of wind currents in the area and the supplemental electronics that are connected to the windmill, i.e. condenser, amplifier, etc.
When developing a windmill science fair project it is essential to understand how a windmill produces electricity. This will help you to determine what aspects of the windmill you want to experiment with and what predictions you can make in your hypothesis. For example, you can hypothesize that by increasing the size of the blades on a windmill turbine that you can increase the torque and the amount of electricity that is produced. You can also hypothesize that the height of a windmill turbine will impact its ability to produce electricity. When creating your hypothesis try to think outside of the box and/or try to come up with a question that impacts the effectiveness or applicability of wind energy.