What constitutes a windmill?
A windmill is device that converts wind energy into mechanical energy which is later converted into electrical energy. A windmill typically consists of the following parts:
• The blades – A windmill can consist of any number of blades from four to 20. Some special wind mills have higher number of blades.
• The tower – The tower holds the rotating blades high up in the air so that the winds rotate them.
• The shaft – The shaft is responsible for joining the blades with the tower and for the smooth rotation of blades.
• The generator – The generator is what generates electricity from the mechanical energy. It also stores power for future use.
• The base: The base of the windmill keeps it grounded to the earth.
What factors affect windmill design?
There are many factors that affect the design of a windmill. Let’s understand the major ones:
• Wind speed: The wind speed can be accurately measured with the help of an anemometer. It is not possible to determine the right kind of wind mill without knowing the accurate wind speed.
• Wind direction: For designing a windmill, it is also important to know the direction from which the wind flows most of the time.
• Change in wind speed: Apart from the constant speed of mind, it is required that you know how the wind changes its speed.
• Change of wind direction: The direction of wind will not be constant, so it important to note the way it changes its direction.
• Obstructions on the site: It is best t install a windmill at a place without many obstructions. Look out for existing and potential structures that may affect the performance of your windmill.
• Wind turbulence: The movement of wind is not always predictable. However, it is a good idea to understand the patter of wind turbulence in your site.
• Distance of wind activity from the ground: The height of the tower is dependent on the height at which the wind is active.
What are the possible designs of windmills?
Aerodynamics determines the design of a windmill based on the factors mentioned in the section above. The designs of windmills vary in the following measures:
• Number of blades
• Shape of the blades
• Height of the tower
• Kind of generators
• Distance of the installation spot from the ground
• Distance between the tower and the generator
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