The College of Engineering and Computer Science along with the SimCenter at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) has proposed a project. This project would target improving children’s understanding of how to optimize wind power generation by interacting with a model wind farm. The first milestone for the team was to complete the Preliminary Design this semester. The preliminary design was proposed to the technical advisor, the client, the dean, and the professor overseeing the project. The team then moved forward with the testing/prototyping phase to make necessary changes for a complete model.
During the design of the model, safety factors in three main areas of the project were noted and must be resolved. Foremost, the fan must be designed so that the children cannot stick their fingers into the blades. Unprotected contact with the rotating blades may cause harm to children’s fingers. This was accomplished by utilizing squirrel cage blower fans that do not have any contact points where the children could stick their fingers into. Next, wires and cords will be prevalent in the final design. The team dealt with this by keeping the cords kept to a minimum. Only one cord comes off of the model to be plugged into the wall. The base design was chosen to be made out of both Plexiglas and aluminum. There are no sharp edges exposed on either the Plexiglas or the aluminum.
During the testing/prototyping phase all aspects of the project were tested. Based on these tests the model was built to be a rolling aluminum cart that can collapse and expand using telescoping legs. The fan system utilized is a squirrel cage blower fan mounted on an aluminum elbow piece that can be stored inside the cart when it is not in use. The wiring of the turbines has changed since the preliminary report. The team decided to utilize each turbine on its own separate circuit to show various output. One turbine is wired to 6 model houses that light up sequentially as more power is being produced. Another turbine is connected to a 7 segment LED display that shows a numeric output of power in “MW.” The last turbine utilizes the circuit that came with the model. It can be switched back and forth to show either voltage or play a tune.
The overall cost of the design is a summation of the three major portions of the project. The proposed budget for the wind farm cart is $897.28.