Initially Nelson and I had decided to try to implement the Windbelt within the built environment but needed to understand how it worked to know how to implement it. Our first initial take of this implementation you can see here. After some test with the stators we then decided to build our own wind belt.
Our first test entailed that we pry open an air pump and take the stators in there for experimentation.
We connected one of the stators to an oscilloscope and turned on the pump.
Inside the pump the two stators sat side by side. When a current came through to one of these [the one we didn’t remove and was not connected to the oscilloscope] the other was giving us a voltage reading on the oscilloscope. In the pump there are another 4 magnets. Two for each stator. When a current runs through, these magnets move quickly in horizontally. These are in a way flipping back and fourth and affecting the polarity of the stators. This generates a voltage and allowed us to power an LED.
First we tested if any electricity was going to generated:
On our first attempt at building the wind belt we used packing strips from home depot and whatever wood we had laying around. The packing strips were not as flexible as we had thought and didn’t move much in the wind. We used a fan to test this.
We tried some plastic material found on our school junk shelf. This gave us poor results. It also stretched out too quickly.
We tried using a roll of film for lightness. It was too fragile and snapped on impact of the magnets. We still tested it though and got some good vibrating movement.
We did a real wind test on the ledge of a window:
We then tried tape and taped it onto it self and wrapped it around as we had done with previous options. To make sure it was tight, and most important, that the belt did not slip, we placed neoprene (any rubber strip could be used) between the tape and the wood that traps the belt on each side.
We got really good results with this and got about 4 volts with out a load with just one stator I think. Ideally with two we would get more.
A stack or piling of this wind belts is a real viable option, yo can make an array of belts on top of each other, so they do not interfere with one another, rectify each of them, make a series circuit with them, and store them in capacitors or recharge batteries as how it was done with the kinetic energy exercises. They also do not make any noise at all. So in places with a lot of wind, and normal materials (found easily, not high tech materials, wood, diodes, scotch tape, copper wire, magnets and maybe some iron core to make your own stators) you can build these electricity wind generators
We then hit the drawing board and thought about how to implement what we had learned into a piece that would used reverberation or would essentially move the magnets up and down along a magnet. This would induce enough energy to flicker an LED. We thought about storing it but opted to make something that would be temporal and possibly sculptural.
Idealizing what it could be via drawing. We were hoping to build a network of coils, wires, springs, magnets and lights. We wanted to pluck the springs and therefore reverberate the magnets up and down along the handmade coils. This would induce an electric charge that would flicker LEDs through out the sculpture. Our first sketches involved a series of strings as you see below.
We then jumped into thinking about the piece as a free standing sculpture that was more like a cube and more free form. Its connections and placement would be much like a web.
We then set out to wrap coils around bobbins to make our own stator like magnets.
We connected these wrapped coils to the oscilloscope to test what kind of readings we would get when we moved magnets quickly from left to right along it and were getting absolutely no readings. We were getting more readings when we touched the coils than when we used magnets to induce a current. Surely our hopes seemed to have deflated at this time and we set out to rethink what we were doing. Next time around we need to get cylindrical or any magnetized metal to go into the core of the bobbins in order for this to work like the stators.
We set out to sketch out what it will be with the available materials and knowledge at hand.
We built a frame out of wood and routed out a groove into it to slip a sheet of acrylic into it. This sheet would separate the stators from the magnets.
Soldered LEDs, in parallel, into pre-drilled acrylic tube sanded down for matte finish.
Assembling the Parts…
Testing the parts.
We hope to make this piece bigger and more 3 dimensional with more stators or our own wrapped coils. The stators are bulky and heavy but this is also probably why we get the readings we are getting. With smaller or less strong magnets we wouldn’t generate the amount of energy needed to flicker an LED.
When you dive into this world of thinking about sustainability you realize that “making” energy is not an easy task. That what we must do is change our lifestyle more than anything to make a meaningful impact. This too is true about an individual versus a community.
As a society we are made unaware of our consumption or choose not to be more conscious of our uses of energy. If we truly want to make an impact we must start with informing people and be more mindful about what we make, with what we make it with, and why this thing we make is really needed.
I guess we made a huge leap huh?