A large component of your score is turbine performance. We will put your turbine in a wind tunnel and see how much energy it generates over a period of time.
Our easy-to-use performance calculator will help you approximate the power output and energy production of your turbine. All you need is a basic multimeter and some resistors. This Performance Calculator Guide will help you figure out exactly how to measure and calculate the efficiency of your turbine.
At the KidWind Challenge, we use a suite of Vernier tools to collect and analyze power output data from your turbine. We love Vernier tools for their ability to collect lots of data, but we understand that you may have a limited budget. Here are the tools our staff uses.
You need one of the following interfaces to measure power output with Vernier tools.
Now, you need something that actually does the measurements.
Energy Sensor - This sensor is hands-down the easiest way to measure voltage and current simultaneously, and includes a variable load to easily calculate power and energy. We helped Vernier develop this to make measuring energy data a snap!
- If you don't have the Energy Sensor, you'll need more stuff.
Voltage Probe and Current Probe - You can use separate voltage and current probes, but hooking them up gets more challenging to measure both simultaneously.
Resistor Board or Variable Load - To measure power output, you need your turbine to do some work, such as light a lightbulb or power an electrical grid. This is called a load. We use resistors to put a predictable load on a circuit in order to accurately measure how much work your turbine can do. We recommend these resistors, but you can use any as long as you know their resistance. At Challenges, we use a 30 ohm resistor.
You need the software to make all of this run; this comes with the interface you purchase.
Logger Lite - This software runs with LabQuest 2 and LabQuest Mini. If you are using the Energy Sensor, you can easily use this software to measure current, voltage, power, and energy. This software is included with these interfaces.
LoggerPro - This software runs with LabQuest 2 and LabQuest Mini. If you are using the Current and Voltage Probes, you will need LoggerPro to take integrals of power over time.
If you already have this hardware and software, we have created ready-to-use templates that will measure current and voltage, and calculate power and energy over a 60-second trial period. This is one of the templates we use at KidWind Challenges.
Other cool tools
Anemometer Probe - Allows you to accurately measure wind speed. If you know your power output, turbine size, and wind speed, you can calculate your turbine's efficiency. This is a very cool experiment!
Renewable Energy with Vernier - A new book we recently wrote with Vernier that explores wind and solar using the energy sensor and other tools. Great for middle- and high-school students to explore the technical side of renewable energy.
Wind Tunnel - This is the tunnel we use at Challenges. Pricey for your classroom for sure, but it gives you an idea of the scale.
White Box Learning KidWind 2.0 Module - This software tools that allow you to design, simulate and print 3D blades for the KidWind Advanced Turbine.