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How do windmills work?

Published On: Jul 28 2011 11:52:55 AM EDT

Windmills use blades to gather wind that flows over it.

Just like an airplane uses wings for lift, windmills use their blades for lift as well but in this case to turn the windmill.

They are pretty simple structures, their blades are connected to a drive shaft that is connected to an electric generator.


As the blades turn, this turns the drive shaft and creates electricity.

Electricity is sent through wires and collected.

There are several different types of windmills which are categorized by the direction in which their blades rotate.

Two different types of windmills, most commonly called turbines when producing energy, are the horizontal axis turbines and the vertical axis turbines.

Horizontal turbines are by far the most popular type of turbine and are the traditional type of windmill with blades that are similar to an airplane’s propeller.

These are the windmills we often see pictures.

On the other hand, vertical axis windmills have blades that resemble an egg beater.

They are far less popular than horizontal windmills only making up a very small overall percentage of the energy.