Radiations is a weekly electronic newsletter published by the Physics and Astronomy Department of Carleton College. The deadline for materials to be included in Radiations is 7:30 AM Monday of the week you would like the information to appear. Contact tfields@carleton.edu if you want to be added or removed from this mailing list.

Volume 19, Issue 18 (February 25, 2013)

Evan MacAyeal Comps Talk

January 17, 2013

Wind Turbines


Wind energy has become an increasingly prevalent source of renewable energy, both domestically and abroad. This energy source, driven by the kinetic energy of air molecules carried in the Earth's wind currents, is dependent on the efficient conversion of the wind's kinetic energy into mechanical energy and electrical energy, in turn, thanks to wind turbines. The ability of electrical utility grids to easily tap power resources from wind turbines even on the campus of Carleton College is the progeny of a long line of wind mill and turbine predecessors, technical advancements, and wind turbine engineering feats that have refined these devices to the point of economic viability. In my talk, I will first lay the foundation of fluid dynamics necessary to understand the aerodynamics involved. Next, I will discuss the physical principles behind the generation of electrical currents via a wind turbine generator. And finally, I will describe how the power generation of a wind turbine can be controlled for increased consistency and performance such that wind power continues to grow into a primary means of energy production around the world.