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Dale E. Berg, a member of the technical staff in the wind energy technology department at Sandia National Laboratories, replies
| January 26, 2009 |
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The differences between wind turbine and ceiling fan blades arise from the contrasting design criteria: the wind turbine is intended to capture high-velocity wind to generate electricity efficiently; the ceiling fan needs to move air at low velocity with inexpensive components. To keep drivetrain costs low, a wind turbine must capture the energy in fast-moving air and rotate at relatively high speed—within limits, so as to avoid excessive noise generation. (Slow rotation would increase the torque and require heavier and more
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expensive drivetrain components.) Such high-efficiency energy conversion dictates the use of lift-type turbine blades, similar to airplane wings, of twisted and tapered airfoil shapes. The blade design creates a pressure difference in wind—high pressure on one side and low pressure on the other —that causes the blades to turn. A combination of structural and economic considerations drives the use of three slender blades on most wind turbines—using one or two blades means more complex structural dynamics, and more blades means greater expense for the blades and the blade attachments to the turbine. The ceiling fan, on the other hand, is built to keep the occupants of a room comfortable by moving air gently. Its engineers work to minimize noise while the fan rotates at low speed (for safety reasons) and to keep the construction costs, and therefore the purchase price, low. Energy efficiency is not a primary concern, because operation is inexpensive—a typical ceiling fan running 24 hours a day consumes about 60 kilowatthours a month, for an average electricity cost of about six dollars. For this reason, most ceiling fans incorporate blades that are comparatively inefficient drag devices; rotating the pitched blades pushes air vertically out of the way. Wide, flat blades are inexpensive to build and work well as drag devices. More blades are better, up to a point, and the usual layout of four or five blades is the result of balancing trade-offs between efficiency and expense.
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and was printed in the February 2009 issue of Scientific American. Pa. USA M ore job s from Naturejob s. Semky 06:19 AM 1/27/09 You described the 3 blades wrong. WA Postd octoral Associate University of Minnesota Minneap olis. Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 5. For example look at the rpm in different wind speeds. I imagine the same myth is being perpetuated here.So we can cost the minimum and get the maximal energy . Cornwall. UK Vice Presid ent M arketing and Business Develop ment American Seafood s Group Seattle. but the end result (because of manufacturing. YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no ob lig ation to continue the sub scrip tion. The blade design creates a pressure difference in windhigh pressure on one side and low pressure on the otherthat causes the blades to turn. gunboss 01:56 PM 4/6/09 If you look at the Lift Equation (how a wing or turbine blade generates lift) and Betz's Law (Gives the maximum energy that can be derved from a given swept area . Note: This question was submitted by J. the problems with more blades are noise and mechanical scientificamerican. School of Med icine 105 Mason Farm Rd . Three blades will give you no where near the Betz Limit.com õ ADVERTISEMENT 1. inboulder 02:26 PM 1/27/09 "similar to airplane wings. Yes cost is the determining factor. health and environmental b enefits: Ref PCM D-GS-0064 Peninsula Colleg e of Med icine & Dentistry Truro..cfm?id… 2/4 . Angela Song 12:07 AM 1/31/09 "wind turbines have three narrow blades. Email Address Name Post a Com m ent | Read Com m ents ( 12) Reprints and Permissions õ Address 1 0 Like 10 0 Address 2 City Articles You M ight Also Like State Zip Continue ADVERTISEMENT Out of This World Supercom puter Sim ulates How Materials Fracture Handicaps in CAPPS To Mars by Way of Its Moons Training for Terror Better T Dog 12 Comments Show All | Jump To: 1-10 | 11-20 | Next Add Comment View Oldest to Newest Science Jobs of the Week Post-d octoral Scientist M od eling & Simulation within Clinical Research Roche Switzerland Basel. safety and operating concerns) was a hybrid between a standard ceiling fan blade and a wind turbine blade. Parker’s initial blade prototype looked a lot like a wind turbine blade. but the rotation of the blade was (faster cutting the slow wind) . MN. The wind was not at high velocity. But the "arc / sec" of the blade I think allows for a lower wind speed. USA Postd octoral research fellow University of North Carolina at Chap el Hill. NC 27599. we are probably talking about the same thing here." As is known to everone that three piont is stable enough to make up a plate when blades are turn." It's a common but widely believed myth that airplane wings generate lift primarily from Bernoulli type pressure differences. If I like it. a p ed ag og ical tool connecting child ren and nature: social. Switzerland Narrative Journey. Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 2.high speed low torque. I will b e b illed for the one-year sub scrip tion. of twisted and tapered airfoil shapes.com/article.called the "Betz Limit") you will see that indeed the more blades the better. And I just understood your english a little off. JamesG in reply to inboulder 09:40 AM 1/28/09 So what is the primary mechanism generating lift in airplane wings--angle of attack with nearly symmetrical upper and lower curve of the airfoil? Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 4. Chap el Hill. Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 3. Stroudsburg. Lester.2/8/2011 Why do wind turbines have three narr… Show Latest from SA Blog Network A 2001 article in Mechanical Engineering chronicled the quest of a man named Danny Parker to create a more efficient ceiling fan.
Not bad at all Ithink. The current is relatively slow at perhaps 5 mph.not a myth. the most blades I have tested are 18. if the cost is not considered. alfie0077 in reply to oujun 11:47 AM 11/11/09 I have read that the more blades the merrier. Dan Parker Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this | Jump To: 1-10 | 11-20 | Add a Comment You must log in or register as a ScientificAmerican.cfm?id=gulfstream-renewable-energy Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 7. oujun 09:59 PM 9/10/09 I have a question. http://www. Jim. About Bernoulli: The pressure on the "top" of the wing is definitely lower than the pressure on the "bottom" due to speed differential . Ads by Google ITT Tech . pushes it up into the partial vacuum and then bounces down. MS Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 6. and have found the same. Several narrower blades are better than a few wide ones.com/article.com/article.youtube. This provided a slight improvement over 9 blades.com/user/spiralairfoil#p/u/4/gO3WK89BB5Q At some point in the near future we intend to come up with a ceiling fan that very much looks like this earth Spiral.com member to submit a comment. how many blades could make the efficiency highest. T here is most likely a practical limit. Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 10. You cannot plan to have the exit smaller than the entry to the blades. childsplay 04:42 AM 11/11/09 These blades spin so fast and yet they are so simple www. keep in mind that on the ceiling fan the top will be on the bottom and the overall shape will be much flater. I am doing research on a new turbine.com/shop/index. As of now. Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 9.scientificamerican. Rep ly | Rep ort Ab use | Link to this 8. using the Spiralairfoil concept. Spiralairfoil 08:54 AM 12/30/09 Hi folks. Gulf Stream T urbine project at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) http://www. as this will restrict the flow of air.windynation.Official Site IT T Technical Institute® Programs L i & O li scientificamerican.cfm?id… 3/4 . So the wing causes air to move down while developing lift.php? act=viewProd&productId=12 I built a wind generator using these blades and I can get enough electricity run all of my outdoor lighting.2/8/2011 Why do wind turbines have three narr… complexity in the hub to feather all the blades in high wind. But the air on the bottom still strikes the underside of the wing.Callahan 05:07 PM 5/29/09 Related question: What should the turbines in the Gulf Stream ocean current look like? Should the design resemble a wind turbine or should it look like a boat propeller or some other design? Water is denser than air.