Take science and technology out of the abstract and into the real word with our unique & exciting hands-on educational activity! We bring all the necessary tools and materials and lead the workshop so it is easy to organise and host. The workshop can be curriculum-linked so useful for any students studying science or design & technology, especially those considering a career in engineering.
Drawing on our 10 years’ experience teaching people how to build small wind turbines we have developed a new design that is customised to maximise the practical and theoretical learning outcomes. The fact that the participants build it themselves from scratch gives them a great understanding of the underlying scientific principles involved.
Over a number of sessions we build an electricity generating wind turbine from simple materials using a range of hand tools and techniques. Participants each carve a wooden blade, turn their own copper coil, manipulate powerful magnets and fabricate a metal mounting together as a team. Once all the parts are brought together the complete turbine is tested on a short tower and participants can see their hard work turn into fully charged batteries! There are various experiments that can then be done on the completed turbine.
We can also bring the turbine partially or fully assembled and focus on the experiments.
By hand building all the elements participants gain confidence in their own practical ability. The range of tasks involved allows them to get a sense of which skills they may be interested in developing further.
Participants also attain a fantastic sense of achievement as they see the project develop from a pile of raw materials through to a fully working system.
The sessions are:
- Blades – each person hand carves a wooden wind turbine blade with an aerofoil profile based on an introduction to fluid dynamics and blade design
- Electrical generator – after an introduction to electromagnetism each person creates a copper coil, prepares its output wires with solder and the group works together to connect them all up into a three-phase stator. Each person then secures a number of powerful magnets into a rotor to make up the other part of the generator.
- Electrical system – the group learns about the different components that make up a safe wind turbine electrical system while wiring them all together to make a battery charging setup
- Assembly – the group bolt together all the component parts to complete the turbine and learns about the importance of mechanical overspeed protection, blade balancing & maintenance
- Testing – the group connects the turbine to their electrical system, watch it spin, and charge some devices!
Other sessions and experiments that can be done include:
- Altering magnets and coils
- Changing the blade shape
- Soldering a bridge rectifier
The course can be beneficial and interesting for any students of science or engineering over the age of 14. We have run it in universities, colleges and schools and can tailor the content to the needs of the group. The relevant points on the KS4 Science national curriculum are at the end of this page.
The whole course can be completed in one day however it can be split up and run as a combination of half day or quarter day periods. We can also extend the scope and depth of the course and run it over two days or over a period of weeks/months.
We bring all the necessary tools and materials.
Prices are below. We will need to charge extra if an overnight is needed. We can offer discounts on multiple bookings.
Please contact us for more information or to make a booking
|Two Day||One Day||Half Day||Quarter Day||Travel from & to Nottingham (our base)|
|<10 participants||£800||£500||£350||£250||95p per mile|
|11-20 participants||£1400||£800||£550||£400||£1.45 per mile|
A professional and thoroughly interesting hands-on practical workshop. The team were flexible enough to tailor the course to the skills and abilities of the course participants. The course has been an inspiration and we have invited them to run another course next year.
Dr Justin Hinshelwood, Lecturer, MEng Energy Engineering, University of Exeter, UK
Their expertise and familiarity with the design and process of manufacture enabled us to achieve the project painlessly. I would highly recommend that all young engineers experience this activity.
David Trujillo, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering, Coventry University, UK
Key Stage 4 Science National Curriculum Relevance
- energy changes in a system doing work using an electric current
- power as the rate of transfer of energy
- conservation of energy in a closed system
- calculating energy efficiency for any energy transfers
- renewable and non-renewable energy sources used on Earth, changes in how these are used.
- exploring current, resistance and voltage relationships for different circuit elements ; including their graphical representations
- power transfer related to p.d. and current, or current and resistance.
Magnetism and electromagnetism
- exploring the magnetic fields of permanent and induced magnets
- magnetic effects of currents, how solenoids enhance the effect
Vocabulary, units, symbols and nomenclature