A Wind Turbine is Born
Diving into a new project only comes naturally with the Junior class of MSEL. Innovation and teamwork seem to be our thing, and we always enjoy getting our hands dirty with any challenge thrown our way. This years engineering class has proved to be a new and exciting experience for us all, learning to use scary equipment, not to step on nails, and look good doing construction in dresses and fancy shoes. Although it is still the beginning of the year, we have already begun working on major projects that once finished, will be the pride of MSEL and all of Terra Linda. This week, we continued the process of designing a special wild turbine to be placed at Terra Linda with the hopes of innovating green technology on campus. Mapping out blueprints, turbine placement, and school board approval, MSEL has been working hard to make the dream of a school turbine into a reality. With the help of our amazing engineers and friends from Energy Recovery, we have been able to have professional consulting and planning, ensuring the turbine’s success at Terra Linda. With our engineers visiting early this week, we started on a good note, presenting our turbine ideas to the class, mostly on the idea of structure and assembly. Each group, consisting of 3 students, designed a turbine without using the internet as a source and were forced to use creativity and imagination in the planning process. The designs the students drew were great, with many of them possible options as the final layout for the turbine. Oddly, many of the layouts were similar, with vertical blades as opposed to horizontal ones like the most common turbines. Blade design differed from twisted blades to circular blades, all predicted to trap wind and rotate the main shaft, or generator, therefore collecting energy. Most groups agreed to place the generator up high, close to the blades. However, after input from the engineers, we agreed to place the generator near the ground, as maintenance would be more accessible. As MSEL juniors are a group of skilled workers, we are about to tackle the assignment of building wind turbine models using cardboard to test our multiple layouts. From there, we are going to see how well the designs hold up when placed in front of a fan. We will determine the best design and proceed to build it! Getting supplies, however, is a different story. MSEL is very lucky though to have Energy Recovery donating essential materials. Thanks Energy Recovery! What happens next, we aren’t quite sure yet. The wind turbine is still in the embryonic phase and is only beginning to develop. When building begins to commence and approval happens, students will be the busiest we’ve ever been! In the upcoming weeks, we will continue the project of the MSEL fence around the Terra Linda garden and continue planning the turbine. Everyday is an adventure and a mystery in MSEL engineering, but that’s why it’s so great. Plus we all look really good holding hammers.