The windmill is a structure that helps in converting wind power into rotational energy by means of vanes that are called blades or sails, particularly to gristmills, but the term is extended to wind turbines, wind pumps, and other sort of applications. The wind power got first harnessed by the sailors, who could understand the lift and harness the power of wind through sails. This sort of knowledge led to the development of the first-ever vertical axis sail type windmill, used by the ancient Chinese and Persians for pumping up the water and grinding grains.

The windmills consisted of vanes, also known as sails or blades, that worked in a circular manner. Whenever the blades get prompted to turn by the wind, it converts the wind’s energy into rotational energy that can be utilized for many purposes.

How do Windmills work?

The foundation for the present wind turbine technology was laid down by the early Europeans with horizontal axis systems. Wind turbines are mainly used for the production of energy. In simple words, the windmill is a structure that is used to harness wind power for multiple purposes such as grain grinding, generating electricity, and pumping the water. The wind makes the blades spin, which creates kinetic energy. Each blade is connected at the center, so it moves together as per the direction of the wind and produces electricity.

The earlier documents regarding the windmills reveal that the old windmills consisted of vertical axis systems with vertical blades attached through a horizontal strut with a stone for grinding purposes. The first windmill appeared in Europe. With time the windmill got advanced and the tower mill got introduced after many modifications. The people started to make wooden windmill. The most important characteristic of the tower mill was a cap or roof that could pivot with the response of changing wind patterns. In the tower mill, only the cap was required to move in the tower mill to get the desired results. The tower mill was a manually oriented design. Another kind of windmill was smock mills, the smock mills are kind of similar to tower mills that mainly differ in their appearance. The smock mills were usually octagonal or hexagonal, meaning it either had six sides or eight sides. Smock mills were mostly similar to tower mills, but the smock mills were much larger than tower mills.

Nowadays, the turbines consist of brake systems that can electrically, mechanically, or hydraulically stop the rotor in emergency requirements. It also has a controller that starts up the machine at wind speeds ranging between 6 mph to 16 mph. It also helps to shut down the machine automatically if the wind speed goes above 55 mph to prevent any sort of damage. To measure the speed of the wind, an anemometer is used and transmits the data/ information to the controller. Windmills have come a long way since their conception, and modern advances in turbine technology have proved that wind power is an environment-friendly substitute for fossil fuels.

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