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Cause and Effect of the Water Wheel

Essay by   •  November 24, 2010  •  Essay  •  771 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,490 Views

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A water wheel changes the energy of falling water into mechanical energy that can be used for machines. The water is directed into the wheel through a tube. The wheel is placed on an axle, which is connected by gearing with the machine it is to operate. There are two types of water wheels, vertical and horizontal. The vertical wheels has an overshot and a undershot. The overshot water wheel has buckets around its edge. Water is delivered to the top of the wheel. The weight of the water falling into the buckets makes the wheel turn. An overshot water wheel has a very good chance of working with a 80 percent efficiency rate. That means, it may turn as much as 80 percent of the energy of the water into mechanical energy. Though, its use is limited to making small amounts of power. The undershot water wheel is built so the water hits the blades at the bottom of the wheel. The power of the wheel depends on the speed of the water hits the blades. The undershot wheel has such a low efficiency that it is rarely used. Most modern water wheels are horizontal. A horizontal wheel rotates on a vertical shaft. It is driven by the force of the water hitting the blades on one side of the wheel. Horizontal wheels are very efficient if made correctly.

For my experiment I made an vertical undershot waterwheel. For the base of the waterwheel I cut off 8 centimeters of the bottom of a milk jug. Then out of the top of the jug I cut four triangles, four squares and four circles out for the fins of the waterwheel. After that I thumb tacked the 4 triangles to a cork. Put a hole at the end of each side of the cork and glued a skewer in each side for an axis. Then I cut a hole at each side of the base and put the skewers with the cork suspended in the middle. Then I put a 2 inch x 2 inch piece of clay shaped as circles on each side of the skewer. That's how I got my waterwheel.

In my experiment I didn't use electricity instead I measured the rate at which a water wheel lifts a weight. Doing this determined the speed at which the water wheel spins. For a weight I used a penny that was taped to a string which was wrapped around the clay. Then I poured water onto the water wheel and timed how long it took for the penny to reach the top. Then I changed the experiment a little each time I did it and recorded the effect. The first time I did the experiment it took 5 seconds to reach the top. The second time I did it I added more clay, it took 7 seconds that



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