Wind turbines are one of the oldest devices in existence used for generating energy. With time, design aspects of wind generators have steadily improved, particularly when it comes to the way the blades that are responsible for turning the turbines’ rotors have been built. Today’s smaller, quieter wind turbines, which are exponentially more efficient than early models, are a direct result of these improvements.
The earliest wind turbine blades were essentially just large mats made from reeds. While they did the job under some conditions, they broke easily. If the winds got too high, these blades would usually be broken.
Cloth sails were the next step in the evolution of wind turbine blades. Along with an improved vertical axis style design, many early windmills utilized this type of blade in order to use wind power for the purpose of processing grain.
The next phase in the development of wind turbines saw the introduction of wood blades and horizontal axis blade configurations. The impetus for the new turbine designs was the design of airplane blades, which had recently made major strides. The crucial advantage of wooden blades over earlier types was that they could be both lighter and stronger, and therefore they were much better suited to generating power in all conditions.
These designs allowed turbines to be used for the purpose of generating electricity. The earliest wind turbines of this type were somewhat small in size, but they would soon be scaled up and used in commerical settings.
At this time, the difference between horizontal axis turbine blades and vertical axis blades became even more distinct. In terms of horizontal axis blade design, the majority of the changes would take the form of adjustments in blade shape and pitch, materials, and the number of blades used per rotor.
Due to their strong balance of stability and rotor speed, 3-blade designs came to be the the most common style for horizontal axis wind turbines. Modern turbines feature composite blades, which are both lightweight and durable. Composite blades give wind turbines the ability to spin at higher speeds and produce more power as well as pick up low-speed winds, making them immeasurably more efficient.
Some of the most spectacular and effective designs on the market today can be found on vertical axis wind turbines. Vertical axis wind turbines, too, can provide good power, as they are usually engineered to take advantage of either wind drag or wind lift.
Vertical axis turbines are able to harness the power of the wind regardless of its direction. Horizontal axis turbines don’t provide quite the same consistency of output. Their capacity to produce power even without the need for a tower makes vertical axis turbines especially well suited to residential use.
For information about the benefits and drawbacks of wind power, go toAdvantages and Disadvantages of Wind Power.
For the best guide I have found for building your own wind turbines with step by step videos, go to Best DIY Solar and Wind Guides.