What is a Windmill?

Up until recently, people still only had visual impressions of what a windmill is, often associating it with the past and particularly before the industrial revolution. Today, things have come full circle, if you will and there is now a growing demand for large, technologically advanced windmills across the world. The term wind energy or wind power describe the process through which wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into electrical energy by the use of generator.

What this introductory guide seeks to do is describe the apparatus in layman’s terms and also outline how they work and what they were intended for originally and the purposes for which they are used today. We begin with a brief definition of what a windmill is.

•It was originally a structure with sails, much like that on pre-industrial ships, and was originally used to produce flour from corn. In order to do this, the wind would have to prompt the sails to turn. They were also originally built by master craftsmen.

•A dictionary definition explains it thus; it is a machine which is propelled by the wind from a horizontal shaft which extended onto sails. Windmills still used today, mainly in parts of the world which have traditionally relied on them, are powered by electricity or water.

•The dictionary expounds this definition further by relating it to a human physical exercise technique which replicates the symbolism and movement of the original windmill. It is also famously symbolic in Cervantes’ classic of Don Quixote. This definition reminds readers that the original mill was also used to pump water and generate power.

•In modern terms, the advanced windmill operates with just three blades mainly to generate sustainable sources of electricity and energy. Today, these windmills are also referred to as wind turbines.

•According to Wikipedia, “A windmill is a mill that converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades.”

How Does a Windmill Work?

Winds are produced due to uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the earth and the irregularities of the earth’s surface. Wind flow patterns differ from place to place and are modified by bodies of water, vegetation, and differences in terrain. This next section explains briefly but accurately how windmills work. Sourcing more extensive information, readers will learn that understanding technical processes initiated in wind turbines will be easy to follow because the manner in which windmills work follows a simple process. Here we continue to rely on layman’s terms.

•A number of different options were tried when modern wind turbines were first built. Today, the universal mechanizing principle is to operate the turbine by using just three blades placed around a rotor which is connected to a shaft. Note that number of variations have been tried, two blade and even one blade. But, three blades works the best.

•As its name states, the windmill’s only source of energy is derived from the wind. The wind turns the blades which spins a shaft, in turn, prompt a generator to produce electricity. These blades are connected to a generator, sometimes through a gearbox and sometimes directly. In both the cases, the generator converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy. Interestingly, most modern turbines turn in a clockwise direction. Depending on wind speed, most modern turbines can operate at speeds from as little as four meters per second to as much as 15 mps.

•Quite a number of green energy advocates and NGO’s describe the wind-generator process more succinctly by correlating it closely with the environmental sustainability initiatives.

•Once the turbine’s blades turns a shaft located inside of a box placed on top of the turbine, gearbox mode is propelled and more speed rotation is given off. A transformer within the turbine then converts electricity into a voltage suitable for distribution to a national grid.

Positive Effects of the Wind Turbine:

Finally, it is incumbent to emphasize the importance of wind turbines where environmental sustainability is concerned and as a rapid but highly effective response to global warming and climate change.

The exponential benefits are not only crucial but already evident where wind turbines are used increasingly, mainly in developed and developing nations. To finish this guide on windmills and its natural successors, wind turbines, we highlight some positive effects they have on humankind and the environment.

No more greenhouse gases – Turbines do not emit carbon dioxide.

Power is free – No government agency can presently regulate wind. So they cannot charge fees to those who choose to use it as an alternative source of life-sustaining and life-saving energy.

Versatility – There is a perception in some areas that the only modern day wind turbines you are likely to see are giant monstrosities hovering over your home. Not the case, because smaller wind turbines, small enough and perfectly equipped, are being manufactured for you today. All you need do is talk to the farmers who are already utilizing customized turbines for their own agricultural needs.

Positively speaking, this may have been a whirl-wind tour of processes, purposes, features and just causes along with some historical anecdotes on ancient windmills and the modern day equivalent of the wind turbine. The main purpose here was also to stimulate increased awareness and interest in this important piece of humankind’s legacy for the future.

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