Decades ago if you drove by a field and happened to see a windmill spinning in the wind, chances are the blades were made of wood. With new inventions and better technology today, wood is still used as material for turbine blades. The design is different however. And a lighter wood material is used, in order to carve the blade and faster speed rotation. By knowing and understanding the different types of blades, and how they improve or decrease the effectiveness of a wind turbine, you can purchase this alternate energy source with confidence. Knowing it will meet your needs.
The most recent blade design is made of fiber-glass and epoxy resin. Although this blade is in its first stages and not yet marketed, what makes it unique is its curvature like tip. This allows it to catch low wind speeds and would be considered a good design for a wind turbine used in the Midwest.
Some turbine blades have actually been made with the raw material made for PVC piping. In strong lengthy winds they have been found to break, but inexpensive to replace.
Researchers have done experiments with several different materials for turbine blades. Weight, wind resistance, durability, speed rotation, sound output, and of course cost are evaluated. Glass has never been used in experiments although plexi-glass was tested. It failed due to not being able to withstand long periods of wind, and the sound output was ineffective.
Many materials have been tested poly foam and aluminum, to name a few more and their performance again was different. They were also found less effective. The turbine blade made of carbon fiber is light weight, and has a razor sharp edge which allows it to literally cut through the wind and makes it virtually silent. This is the material preferred and used in most wind turbine machines sold today.
Another factor evaluated was how many blades would be placed on a turbine windmill. Three blades almost instantly became the most popular. More blades seemed to increase noise and slow down the actual rotation of the turbine's propeller formation. After more research was done the concept of using more than three blades was no longer a factor.
The bigger commercialized wind turbines were more effective in putting out the expected wattage than one with six blades. This was proof that three blades were better. These turbines are as big as two football fields or more in size.
The smaller wind turbines for home use also remained with the propeller style and three blades as a result of its performance, producing the correct type of wattage expected. Carbon fiber blades in the right formation were the inventive solution for the vertical windmill and the wind turbines of today. The wind turbine blades as a whole are simply part of their design, an important part to the quality of performance of the entire wind turbine machine.
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