Science Project:

Ping Pong Ball Anemometer

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Objective

Build an anemometer and use it to measure wind speed in your neighborhood.

Materials

  • Table tennis ball
  • Rubber cement
  • Needle
  • Fishing line (colored line will be easier to see)
  • Protractor
  • Bubble level

Procedure

  1. Use the rubber cement to glue the bubble level to the flat base of the protractor. Make sure it is parallel to the protractor’s edge.
  2. Thread the needle with some fishing line.
  3. Carefully thread the needle through the ping pong ball at two opposite points.
  4. Tie a knot in one end of the fishing line so the ball can hang from the line. Use rubber cement to seal the holes in the ball so the fishing line stays in place.
  5. Cut the length of the line to be 30 centimeters (not including the diameter of the table tennis ball!), and tie the loose end of the line to the index hole of the protractor. Affix the loose end with rubber cement.
  6. Go outside on a windy day and hold the protractor with the curved side facing down.
  7. Make sure the spirit level shows that the flat edge of the protractor is parallel to the ground.
  8. Let the ball blow freely in the wind, and record the angle the fishing line reaches on the protractor.
  9. Use the table below to find out the wind speed. This is can be calculated because we know the length of the string to be 30 centimeters.

Angle

Wind Speed (m/s)

20

14.5

25

13

30

11.5

35

10.5

40

9.5

45

8.7

50

8

55

7.3

60

6.6

65

6

70

5.3

75

4.5

80

3.6

85

2.5

90

0

Why?

The faster the wind blows, the greater the ping pong ball will travel, yielding a greater angle. The protractor helps you measure the angular deflection of the ball.

Author: Erin Bjornsson
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