Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Could wind turbines be used as wind breaks in open farm land

  1. Nov 2, 2014 #1
    my question is would a line of wind turbines have a comparable effect to a wind break in reducing wind velocity
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Maybe, but it would be more expensive and a great deal more unsightly to construct a bunch of wind turbines in place of planting a row of trees.
  4. Nov 3, 2014 #3
    I see a problem with this idea, in order for the blades to act as wind breaks the blade tips would have to travel very close to the ground, at that level the airflow would be turbulent setting up potentially dangerous vibrations in the blades.
  5. Nov 3, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Lines of trees that have bare trunks with a high canopy of foliage actually increase the wind speed close to the ground. It requires an understory of low shrubs to reduce surface wind velocities.

    By obstructing higher airflow, a line of wind generators will actually increase the local wind speed below the blades.
  6. Nov 3, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I agree with Jobrag and Baluncore. I'm a bit confused by the terminology in the initial posts. Where I live (at least when I was on farms back in the 50's and early 60's) we used hedges such as caraganas for windbreaks. Sometimes there were a few trees on either side of them, but that was decorative.
    That aside, I agree that wind turbines wouldn't work for what I think of as a "windbreak". They will of course reduce and/or redirect airflow, but not at ground level and not to a huge degree.
  7. Nov 4, 2014 #6
  8. Nov 4, 2014 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If that's to what the OP was referring, it's a whole different scale than what came to my mind. I was thinking of the kind we had to cut down on soil erosion in dry times on the farm or minimize snow drifting in winter due to surface winds. Hurricane taming wouldn't work on the same principle (I don't think) because of the sheer vertical area they cover and hurricanes are more susceptible to interference a higher altitudes where the "rim" speed is lower.
  9. Nov 6, 2014 #8
    You may be right, either way trees are probably more cost effective.
  10. Nov 6, 2014 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Way back in the 1920s, Cypress seedlings were handed out for free by the Department of Agriculture so farmers could plant wind breaks. These formed good wind break hedges that only required to be trimmed once each year. Unfortunately, farmers are busy and kept putting off the inconvenient job of trimming the top of 12 foot high hedges, so the hedges became lines of trees, now between 4 and 8 foot diameter at the base, 100 foot high, dropping big old branches on buildings and equipment. The area under the trees is now bare of other vegetation and clear of low branches, which makes an efficient wind tunnel for wind obstructed by the middle part of the tree.
    That outcome is quite the opposite to what was originally intended, wind speeds below the trees increased.

    Where trees are used as wind breaks, the species selected should remain low, such as a shrub, or have foliage that fills the area between the trees as close to the ground as possible.
  11. Nov 6, 2014 #10


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes - one can use tall trees, but at some distance from buildings and equipment. One would need lower shrubs, but also rows of trees.

    I've noticed that some windbreaks are not well maintained, and I've seen dead trees that ostensibly will fall if the wind is too high.

    Wind turbines extract a portion of the wind, and most have the blades well above the ground, which is where one wants the wind break. In addition, wind turbines have a cutoff speed at which prevents them from turning too fast.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Could wind turbines be used as wind breaks in open farm land
  1. Wind Farm (Replies: 12)

  2. Wind turbine (Replies: 1)

  3. Wind turbine (Replies: 4)

  4. Wind turbine (Replies: 4)

  5. Wind turbine (Replies: 2)