Bladeless wind turbines generate electricity by shaking, not spinning

Scientists hope to hugely reduce the cost of wind energy by removing the blades from wind farms, instead taking advantage of a special phenomenon to cause the turbines to violently shake.

Vortex, a startup from Spain, has developed the tall sticks known as Bladeless — white poles jutting out of the ground, that are built so that they can oscillate. They do so as a result of the way that the wind is whipped up around them, using a phenomenon that architects avoid happening to buildings and encouraging it so that the sticks shake.

They do so using vortices, which is where the company gets its name from. The bladeless turbines use special magnets to ensure that the turbines are optimised to shake the most they can, whatever speed the wind is travelling at.

As the sticks vibrate, that movement is converted into electricity by an alternator.

Seven waterspouts align as lava from the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea pours into the ocean in this striking photo from photographer Bruce Omori. Like many waterspouts–and their landbound cousins dust devils–these vortices are driven by variations in temperature and moisture content. Near the ocean surface, air and water vapor heated by the lava create a warm, moist layer beneath cooler, dry air. As the warm air rises, other air is drawn in by the low pressure left behind. Any residual vorticity in the incoming air gets magnified by conservation of angular momentum, like a spinning ice skater pulling her arms in. This creates the vortices, which are made visible by entrained steam and/or moisture condensing from the rising air. (Photo credit: B. Omori, via HPOTD; submitted by jshoer)


The Smoke Angels.

Wingtip vortices shown in flare smoke left behind a C-17 Globemaster III.

How does an aircraft fly? Think of it like this, due to the design of the wing, larger number of air molecules are hitting the bottom portion of the aircraft than the top.

As a result, a upward force acts on the wing, hence the wing lifts!

This works fine till we get to the wing tips.

In the wingtip, the air from a higher pressure wants to move to the region of lower pressure. And as a result, this forms vortices ( fancy name for the swirling motion of air ) known as Wingtip Vortex. ( because its formed in the wing tips!!! )

And it is due to the ramification of this, that we obtain those gorgeous smoke angels. Pretty cool huh ?

Have a great day !

Reader unquietcode asks:

I saw this post recently and it made me wonder what’s going on. If you look in the upper right of the frame as the camera submerges, you can see a little vortex of water whirring about. Even with the awesome power of the wave rolling forward a little tornado of water seems able to stably form. Any idea what causes this phenomenon?

This awesome clip was taken from John John Florence’s “& Again” surf video. What you’re seeing is the vortex motion of a plunging breaking wave. As ocean waves approach the shore, the water depth decreases, which amplifies the wave’s height. When the wave reaches a critical height, it breaks and begins to lose its energy to turbulence. There are multiple kinds of breaking waves, but plungers are the classic surfer’s wave. These waves become steep enough that the top of the wave  overturns and plunges into the water ahead of the wave. This generates the vortex-like tube you see in the animation. Such waves can produce complicated three-dimensional vortex structures like those seen in this video by Clark Little. Any initial variation in the main vortex gets stretched as the wave rolls on, and this spins up and strengthens the rib vortices seen wrapped around the primary vortex. (Source video: B. Kueny and J. Florence)

“Not all who wander are lost…some are just storm chasing.”

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena is marveling at this extraordinary time-lapse video created by storm chaser and wedding photographer Mike Olbinski. After 18 days worth of storm chasing (20,000 miles of driving through 9 states and 7 tornadoes), Olbinski edited his footage down to 60,000 time-lapse frames to create this jaw-dropping 6-minute-video entitled Vorticity:

[via Sploid]


New FYFD video! Learn all about salps, vortex rings, and underwater robots. Thanasi Athanassiadis takes me inside his lab and his newly published research into how proximity affects the thrust two vortex rings can produce. 

There are a ton of little things I love about how this video came out, especially the chalkboard animations. Check it the full video below and click through to the video description for lots more information about salps and vortex rings.

(Image and video credits: N. Sharp and A. Athanassiadis; Original salp images: A. Migotto and D. Altherr)

These swirling clouds captured by NASA’s Terra Satellite above Jeju-do, South Korea, are known as Von Karman vortices.

They are created when a mass of fluid, such as water or air, encounters an obstacle and creates swirls going in alternating directions. The obstacle in this instance is Mount Halla, which rises to 6,400 feet-high enough to affect cloud patterns.


Photograph: MODIS/Terra/NASA

Dust devils, like fire tornadoes and waterspouts, form from warm, rising air. As the sun heats the ground to temperatures hotter than the surrounding atmosphere, hot air will begin to rise. When it rises, that air leaves behind a region of lower pressure that draws in nearby air. Any vorticity in that air gets intensified as it gets pulled toward the low pressure area. It will start to spin faster, exactly like a spinning ice skater who pulls in his arms. The result is a spinning vortex of air driven by buoyant convection. On Earth, dust devils are typically no more than a few meters in size and can only pick up light objects like leaves or hay. On Mars, dust devils can be hundreds of meters tall, and, though they’re too weak to do much damage, they have helpfully cleaned off the solar panels of some of our rovers! (Image credit: T. Bargman, source; via Gizmodo)