You are here:

Physics/Pinwheel

Advertisement


Question
Hello,
Thank you for taking your time to look at this message. I am doing a science project and I was wondering if you could answer these three questions.

1. What design elements make a good pinwheel?
2. How many blades make a good pinwheel design?
3. What design do you think would make the fastest pinwheel?

Thanks again,
Isabella

Answer
Hello Isabella,

1. There would be several things. Low friction and the proper aerodynamics are 2 concerns to get the maximum rotation rate for a given wind. I do not have any particular knowledge on what would yield good aerodynamics. Color would enhance the visual affect.

2. The more the better for good visual affect. But I do not know the optimum number for good speed.

3. Sorry, I do not know. I suggest experimentation.

I did a search and got 52 million hits. Here are 4 samples.
http://www.hometrainingtools.com/a/pinwheel-wind-turbine-project/
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Energy_p025.sh
http://www.janbrett.com/piggybacks/piggybacks_the_hat_pinact.htm
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strong-wind-science-the-power-of-a-pin

I hope this helps,
Steve

Physics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Steve Johnson

Expertise

I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.

Experience

I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

Education/Credentials
BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.