Introduction

LEGO NXT wind turbine with long fan blade configurationThe implementation of renewable energy practices has become more and more widespread in recent years.   Of these alternative options, one of the most promising is that of wind energy.  If you think about it, wind is everywhere – and up high, it is even more powerful.   If we can effectively harness this force and use it for our own needs, then we will open up a door to the future.

This exercise will introduce you to the wind turbine design process.  In this lab, you will pick a blade design and build your own mini-turbine.  Then, by using the NXT and a light sensor to count and log rotations, you will analyze the efficiency of your design and see how making certain changes will affect performance.  Hopefully, by the time you complete this exercise, you will have a deeper understanding of how engineering designs are developed, troubleshot, improved.

Materials

  • NXT Robotics Kit
  • Computer with LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS
  • Floor fan
  • Thick Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue/Masking Tape
  • Black Electrical Tape
  • Miscillaneous Parts -- Straws, Cardboard, Popsicle Sticks