many years, energy of moving water has
been used to grind grains and run
machinery such as wood working, knitting
and cutting machinery. Many of these
places are now preserved as museums. With
modern technology, the energy of water is
not directly used to do do the job.
Instead, water energy is used to produce
electricity and the electricity is used to
run different machinery.
the flow of water is seasonal, dams are
made to control the water flow and produce
electricity all year long. With dams,
storing water is storing energy.
In this project
you will make a working model of a water turbine
and calculate the amount of electrical energy that
can be produced by your water turbine. You can
make a water turbine using wood. So wood working
skills, some tools and adult supervision and help
is required for this project.
information about your project. If you are a basic
or advanced member of ScienceProject.com, your
project advisor may prepare the initial
information that you need and enter them in this
section. In any case it is necessary for you to
read additional books, magazines or ask
professionals who might know in order to learn
more about the subject of your research. Keep
track of where you got your information from.
These are the
components or parts for each of most water mills.
The Water Wheel
draws the power for the mill from a current of
The Water Wheel transmits the energy trough
a shaft to other parts of a mill to do a work or
run an electric generator.
energy can be done using gears, pulleys and belts.
you want to find out? Write a statement that
describes what you want to do. Use your
observations and questions to write the statement.
The purpose of
this project is to build a small wooden water
wheel and connect it to a bicycle generator in
order to produce electricity.
think you know what variables may be involved,
think about ways to change one at a time. If you
change more than one at a time, you will not know
what variable is causing your observation.
Sometimes variables are linked and work together
to cause something. At first, try to choose
variables that you think act independently of each
may affect the production of electricity are
design variables such as size of the water wheel
and the shape of buckets made on the wheel. Design
variables affect the speed and torque of the
wheel. On the other hand higher torque and speed
of the water wheel, when transferred to a
generator, produces a higher amount of
on your gathered information, make an educated
guess about the answer to your question or
result of your experiment.
My hypothesis is
that the force of a wooden water wheel with 2 feet
diameter can be transmitted to a small generator
(directly or using belts and pulleys) to produce
an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a
step-by-step list of what you will do to answer
each question. This list is called an experimental
procedure. For an experiment to give answers you
can trust, it must have a "control." A
control is an additional experimental trial or
run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly
like the others. The only difference is that no
experimental variables are changed. A control is a
neutral "reference point" for comparison
that allows you to see what changing a variable
does by comparing it to not changing anything.
Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to
develop. They can be the hardest part of a
project. Without a control you cannot be sure that
changing the variable causes your observations. A
series of experiments that includes a control is
called a "controlled experiment."
So you want to
make a water wheel and use it's energy to run an
electric generator. There are many ways that you
can design your project. For example you may
construct a wooden water wheel and connect it to a
bicycle generator to produce electricity. Or you
may convert an existing bicycle wheel to a water
wheel by connecting aluminum or plastic cups to
Start by drawing
your design and doing the calculations. Imagine
that you want to give your drawings to a builder
and he is supposed to complete the project without
your supervision or advise. Preparing the drawings
and doing the calculations is what engineers do.
So this is your chance to test your engineering
should your water wheel be? It depends on the
generator that you use. The generator needs
certain torque (rotational force) and certain
rotational speed in order to produce electricity.
Your water wheel should be able to produce enough
force or you will get no electricity. Test your
generator to see how much force do you need to run
it efficiently and produce electricity. Use a volt
meter to see what is the voltage produced by your
generator at different speeds. You may use pulleys
or gears to increase the rotational speed (Number
of turns per minute).
How should I
design the water wheel? Here is a sample:
The idea is that
one side of the wheel should hold some water and
become heavy, causing the wheel to spin. As you
know more water results more weight and more
torque (rotational force) on the wheel.
decided to make my drawings and see how
much water do the cups hold in different
design I will use two wooden circles with
the diameter of two feet and a wooden
cylinder with the diameter of 16 inches
and height of 6 inches.
mount the circles on the bases of cylinder
to make spool. I will then use 12 pieces
of 6 x 10 wood paddles to make the cups or
buckets. Since water level is horizontal,
I can see how much water does the wheel
hold in one side in my drawings.
noticed that the bottom of buckets is too
narrow and it does not hold much water. So
I cam up with a second design to use an
angle as buckets. So I replaced each 6 x
10 wood paddle with two pieces connected
to each other to form an L shape.
to use a 6 x 2 piece of wood that forms
the bottom of each bucket and a 6 x 8 that
forms the side of each bucket. The drawing
showed that this design will hold more
water than the previous one.
that enlarging the bottom of buckets can
increase the amount of water stored in
buckets, I increased it again. In this
drawing I assumed that the bottoms are
three inches wide, instead of 2 inches. So
pieces of 3" x 6" will be used.
again showed an increase in the size of
buckets and any water hitting the outside
of each bucket, simply slides down into
the lower bucket.
also made another drawing as you see in
the right, but it does not seem to be as
good. In this drawing the bottom of
buckets are about 5". That is why
they are slanted. One problem that I
noticed in this drawing is that water
hitting the outside of a bucket, does not
easily enter the next bucket and may
This just gave
you some idea on how to start your design. It's up
to you how you want to continue that.
material depends on your final design. In general
you will need some wood, some wires, a generator,
a light bulb and a socket. Additional material
such as nails, screws and wood glues depend on
You may purchase
wood from some hardware stores or home improvement
stores or hobby stores.
Screw base 6
volts light bulb and socket can also be purchased
from hardware stores.
generator is available at bicycle stores and sport
may also be ordered online to MiniScience.com or
of Experiment (Observation):
are often done in series. A series of experiments
can be done by changing one variable a different
amount each time. A series of experiments is made
up of separate experimental "runs."
During each run you make a measurement of how much
the variable affected the system under study. For
each run, a different amount of change in the
variable is used. This produces a different amount
of response in the system. You measure this
response, or record data, in a table for this
purpose. This is considered "raw data"
since it has not been processed or interpreted
yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically,
for example, it becomes results.
do any calculation for your project, write your
calculations in this section.
what happened. This can be in the form of a table
of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could
also be a written statement of what occurred
It is from
calculations using recorded data that tables and
graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we
can see trends that tell us how different
variables cause our observations. Based on these
trends, we can draw conclusions about the system
under study. These conclusions help us confirm or
deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical
equations can be made from graphs. These equations
allow us to predict how a change will affect the
system without the need to do additional
experiments. Advanced levels of experimental
science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical
analysis of data. At this level, science becomes
even more interesting and powerful.
the trends in your experimental data and your
experimental observations, try to answer your
original questions. Is your hypothesis correct?
Now is the time to pull together what happened,
and assess the experiments you did.
Questions & Answers:
have learned may allow you to answer other
questions. Many questions are related. Several new
questions may have occurred to you while doing
experiments. You may now be able to understand or
verify things that you discovered when gathering
information for the project. Questions lead to
more questions, which lead to additional
hypothesis that need to be tested.
did not observe anything different than what
happened with your control, the variable you
changed may not affect the system you are
investigating. If you did not observe a
consistent, reproducible trend in your series of
experimental runs there may be experimental errors
affecting your results. The first thing to check
is how you are making your measurements. Is the
measurement method questionable or unreliable?
Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or
maybe the measuring instrument is working
If you determine
that experimental errors are influencing your
results, carefully rethink the design of your
experiments. Review each step of the procedure to
find sources of potential errors. If possible,
have a scientist review the procedure with you.
Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss
water mill does not produce electricity,
however the design of water wheel may be
helpful for your project. Click
here to see how it is made.
Water mills are
usually made in large sizes, click
here to see a sample.
Many water mills
are now restored
and converted to museums.
information about developing wheels are available here.
design and drawing of a water mill.
mill does not produce electricity, however the
design of water wheel may be helpful for your