Finished Project

Fished project

Our device is finally finished. We worked hard on it and are proud of what we made. It is water driven generator. It works when water hits the spoons, which cause the magnets on the wheel to spin in front of a coiled wire, creating electricity. This generator is strong enough to make up to three volts. That may not sound like much but, with the basic materials my group had, it is. We learned a lot about electricity and how to make a generator to create our own energy.

How We Did It

Induction – If you have a changing magnetic field, it will create electric current. This is called induction. You can create electric current (induction) with wire, metal and magnets. The formula for electromagnetic force is E = Blv; E (ElectroMagneticForce) = B (strength of field) times L (length of the conductor) times V (velocity of the conductor.

In our generator, we used magnets to create a strong field (‘B’) and copper wire as a conductor (‘L’). Water creates the velocity (‘V’) to move the conductor. The total electromagnetic force we can generate is equal to the force of our magnets times the length of our copper wire times how fast the water is moving.

Fished Magnets

How our device works – We attached several magnets to a wheel and spun that in front of copper wire that we had coiled tightly and taped in place. We adjusted the position of the magnets (the poles) and we replaced some of the smaller magnets with bigger ones to create a stronger magnetic field. We also coiled the wire as tight as possible to increase our conductor.

double coils

Generators use a stator and a rotor to make energy. In our generator, the wire is a stator (the part that doesn’t move) and the magnets are the rotor (the part that rotates). In order to turn the magnets in front of the wire, we attached plastic spoons to the wheel. We tested it in a sink with the water running. When the water hit the spoons, it made the wheel and the magnets (the rotor) turn.

Finshed Spoons

AC vs. DC – Our generator creates alternating current (AC.) Alternating current (AC) is when electrons flow in two directions. DC is when electrons flow only in one direction.

Voltage, Current, Watts – As we learned about electricity, we learned about voltage, current (amps), and watts. Volts measure the electric pressure moving electrons. Current is measured in amps; it is the amount of electricity being used.

Watts = Volts x Amps. Watts measure how much work electricity does in an amount of time.

Energy from our Device – Our device generated 3 volts and almost 1.3 amps. So we created about 3.9 watts. This is much less than a regular household light bulb, but enough for a small nightlight bulb

Here is a video of us with our generator 

Three links to learn more:

Hamster powers wheel

Another water generator 

World’s First Generator 

The Last Project

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We are working on building a water-powered generator. It is a fun project that has required a lot learning in order to make it. We made our generator through the use of magnets, copper wire that we coiled ourselves, and many gears. This generator will be powered by the use of a small stream, or water energy.

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The generator will work when the stream pushes the wheel that will turn the magnets in a very fast circle. The magnets will be spinning in front of the wiring and create power. We do not quite have any ideas on how we are going to get the magnets to spin without getting them wet yet and are trying to figure that out.

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We have started experimenting with our generator to see how much energy we can make. We attached several magnets to the wheel and spun that in front of a multi-meter that told us how much energy we are making. We were able to adjust the position of the magnets to make more energy and we replaced some of the smaller magnets with bigger ones. Basically, we were adjusting the strength of the magnetic field. We also learned that you get more energy if you coil the wire tightly.

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As part of this project, we learned about the world’s first electric generator. Almost 200 years ago Michael Faraday discovered that you can create electric current with wire, metal and a magnet. It’s called electromagnetic induction. We watched this great video that showed us that if you have a changing magnetic field, it will create electric current.

In our classroom, we dropped a magnet through an aluminum tube and watched it go very slowly through the tube. When the magnet falls, the changing magnetic field creates a force that makes it slow down.

We also watched a video from the Department of Defense to learn more about induction. We learned the formula for electromagnetic force. EMF = Blv; ElectroMagneticForce = B (strength of Field) times L (length of the conductor) times V (velocity of the conductor. Here is a screenshot from the video:

Generator video

Screen shot from: Department of Defense 1962 video on generators and videos

In our generator, we are using magnets to create a field (‘B’) and copper wire as a conductor (‘L’). Water will create the velocity (‘V’) to move the conductor. The wire is a stator (the part that doesn’t move) and the magnets are the rotor (the part that rotates). We have attached plastic spoons to the wheel. Magnets are attached to the wheel. When the water hits the spoons, it will make the wheel and the magnets (the rotor) turn. We will create alternating current (AC.) Alternating current (AC) is when electrons flow in two directions. DC is when electrons flow only in one direction.

As we learned about electricity, we learned about voltage, current (amps), and watts. Volts measure the electric pressure moving electrons. Current is measured in amps; it is the amount of electricity being used. Watts = Volts x Amps. Watts measures how much work electricity does in an amount of time.

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Our project has been what we have been working on for almost all of the term so far and has been very hands on. This is the major project that has been relatively difficult so far and we are hopping that we will pull through in the end.

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When I first started working on this project I did not know very much about electricity, making electric currents, or the difference between volts, amps and watts. However I now understand much more about those subjects. I understand induction and how it works. I also learned about magnetic fields. The construction of the generator seemed pretty challenging at first, but our group has worked well together to get it done. I feel like I understand generators pretty well now.

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Here are some links we used to help learn:

DC Motors and Generators

Electromagnetic Induction

Homemade Water Turbine

We took a pencil sharpener apart in class today

Starting to take it apart

pencilsharpner4

Today we did something different in class. We took apart a pencil sharpener. We did so to see if we could find a generator inside the pencil sharpener to power another one of our projects. We were unable to find a generator due to the design of the pencil sharpener. The pencil sharpener was not built to be used for any other purpose but to sharpen pencils so it does not have anything inside of it to be used as a generator. But one group took apart a hair dryer and then found something that could be used as a generator. Hair dryers are meant to create wind and heat so they have a generator inside of them.

we took the top off                         pencilsharpner3                         pencilshapner2 we took out the power source

pencilsharperner1this is the power source

Finished product

New pices

The other day in class we managed to finish our wind turbine project. We can get the blades to spin fast enough to get the light to stay on. We had to set the turbine just right in order for it to work. After some slight changes and adjusting the gears, we found a way to make the light stay on constantly. Our wind turbine does not make very much light and it takes a lot of wind in order to get the light to turn on.

What powers the Light

light

The way that real wind turbines work is very similar to our small kit. Wind pushes the wings and turns the gears. The gears power a generator that is attached to the turbine. The turbine makes energy and that energy is shared.

Wind mill

The Bernoulli effect is what powers the wind turbine. The Bernoulli effect is when the wind is hitting the propeller and the higher pressure wind is going over the curved part of the propeller while the lower pressure wind is going under the straighter part. The wind in the straighter part wants to be with the faster wind so it pushes against the propeller, which creates lift and causes the propeller to spin.

The Bernoulli effect:  https://rgsphysics.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/bernoullis-principle/

bernoull

Our wind turbine is powered by wind (a fan), but gears do a lot of the work. All the wind does is turn the turbine propellers. The turbines then turn a set of gears, which turn other gears. The turning of these gears creates energy, which goes to a generator. The generator then makes power to turn the light on. The difference in size of the gears is very important. If the gears are set so a small is driving big one then it would be harder to turn but it would be easier for the light to stay on. You need more wind, but you get more energy. If the gears are set so a big gear is driving a small one it would be easier to turn but harder to keep the light on but it doesn’t need as much wind to turn and you don’t get as much energy. Without the gears, the wind turbine would be useless.If you want more information about gears, here are some links to a few other web sites:

Basic Gear Information

Gears in Use

new gears

Winds turbines are completely green energy and do not pollute the atmosphere. This is thanks to the fact that they do not use any fossil fuels. The use of wind turbines is helping slow down the process of global warming. This is good because global warming is a real issue and must be dealt with.

My team

First Day Working on Kit

The first day we worked on the wind turbine kit was a fun time. It was difficult at first, but we managed to get it down. After a while of building we got stuck putting the gears together. It took us a while to figure it out but we finally managed to get them to work. We just had the gears in the wrong places. The pieces were difficult to put together and were nearly impossible to take apart. This made it difficult to fix any mistakes but the kit came with pliers for just that occasion.We worked very well together and managed to get a lot done.

wind mill gearswind mill parts

wind mill box

Kits

Today in my class we were able to select the kits that my group and I will make. It appears to be a fun kit that should help us learn about wind power. I hope this goes well and I will be posting about it as the term goes on.

kits