An anemometer measures the speed of the wind. The kind of anemometer used by professionals connects to a machine that reads out the actual wind speed. You can make an anemometer though to approximate wind speeds as a science project or science lesson.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 5 small paper drinking cups
- 2 plastic drinking straws
- Straight pin or push pin
- Pencil with new eraser
- Hole punch
Look at pictures of an anemometer used by weather or aviation experts (see Resources below). The basic principle is the same whether it's simple or sophisticated. Use cup-shaped devices to capture wind fastened to a stick so they can turn when capturing the wind.
Select four small paper drinking cups. Punch a hole in each one just below the rim.
Punch four holes in a fifth paper cup of the same size. Space the four holes at even intervals and near the top of the cup.
Connect two of the one hole cups. Use a straw, pushing through a hole and fastening a short end with a staple. Then connect the other end to the second cup. Repeat this procedure with the remaining one hole cups.
Place the straws so that one is going straight up and down and the other is crossed over it going straight side to side. Make sure the open ends on the four cups are facing the same way.
Use a straight pin or push pin to fasten the intersection of the crossed straws. Then push the pin into the head of the pencil eraser. You've now finished you anemometer.
Hold the cups into the wind and watch them go around.
Tips and warnings
- Removing the rims on the cups allows the anemometer to move with less drag, but also can make it less durable.
- Count revolutions of the anemometer within a 60 second period to compare speeds in different conditions.
- A more durable anemometer can be made by using stiff cardboard pieces. Cross the pieces in the center an secure with a staple. Then attach the paper cups, facing in the same direction, to the underside of each of the four cardboard "wings."
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