Physics behind Wind Power Generation useful for renovations

Wind mill on a sunny day

The laws of physics in wind power generation obey natural like principles of gravity, motion, and electrical currents. Without science, it would be impossible to convert air movements to energy. This application of wind power helps to understand how the internal mechanisms of a turbine work. Usually, the speed of a turbine’s propeller is proportional to the amount of wind energy it produces. This article will help readers to understand the physics behind wind power generation.

What is Wind Energy?

The wind is the source of energy that drives (powers) turbines and provides electricity. Power is the capacity to do work, but energy utilizes resources to produce results. These resources (chemical or physical) might involve molecules that are in constant motion. In wind power generation; the terms – energy and power are interchangeable because they describe the process. It’s the process of generating power from air movements (wind) that brings electricity to our homes and offices. So, you should expect to see the mechanical components of wind turbines when you visit a farm.

Normally, turbines convert the kinetic (motion) energy from the wind into power. Without this principle, the mechanical (turbine and propellers) components of a wind farm will have poor efficiency.

What Underlying Principle Of Physics Applies To Wind Energy?

It’s essential to have both commercial and residential-scale renewable energy solutions that are cost-effective. The earliest windmills were designed by the Persians and Chinese. Over ten centuries ago, people understood how to apply kinetic energy for survival. Also, the wind might not be a tangible entity, but it obeys the laws of physics. This theory holds because the wind is in a state of constant motion. Windmills were upgraded to use steam, internal combustion engines, vacuum pumps and turbine systems.

Modern-day wind turbines still obey the laws of physics. Since moving air has mass (m), its velocity can help to determine the expected kinetic energy. Generally, the formula for wind’s Kinetic Energy is half of its mass multiplied by the square of its velocity. This principle of physics is the same for two, three, and four-blade propellers.

Don’t forget the mass (m) is the weight of air, and it’s easy to obtain when you know the density of air (ρ), and the volume (V) of air respectively. This principle of physics also applies to bodies that are in motion. Also, when you determine the velocity (v) of wind, it’s easy to know the value of energy that has been produced. To get the value of power from the turbine, you must consider the energy value and divide by time.

Construction worker

Since the wind turbines propellers (rotor) move over some time (Δt), it’s right to say that air particles cause the movement of mechanical parts. With more wind speed, your turbine can improve its wind power generation. Additionally, wind turbines extract kinetic energy from incoming (towards the propeller) air and continue the mass flow just as they do in any normal industrial air compressors. Consequently, the propeller blades create a bigger area of air movements after the extraction.

It’s the difference between the two areas of wind powers that create an effective power for your turbine. Engineers often avoid the design of a wind turbine closely behind another installation. It’s because the proximity will cause the latter turbine’s rotors to be driven by slower air.

The Impact of Air Movements

Rotor blades that are well-aligned in the path of wind will extract some kinetic energy. Normally, fast-moving (hotter) air particles have more pressure than slow-moving particles. Even ancient scientists that lived around 300 B.C knew that motion was kinetic energy. Also, the rotor begins to spin when low-pressure air is combined with the wind’s force. There are a series of gears inside the mechanical components of turbines that boost the rotation of these rotors. It’s this speed that makes your wind turbine generator to produce AC (alternating current) electricity.

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