Get ready to explore the theory, construction, and operation of a model wave-energy generator! Designed by William Hanshumaker, Ph.D., Oregon Sea Grant, and Alan Perrill, Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), this activity works to further students’ and the general public’s knowledge of and interest in wave-energy generators. Students will build variations of model wave-energy buoys that contain a linear generator, a magnet that moves in a straight line in and out of a coil of wire, mimicking that of linear electric generator.
This comprehensive activity is targeted at sixth to eighth grade students and includes background information on the theory of wave-energy generators as well as instructions on how to build different configurations of the models and simple wave tanks to test them in. The goal of this activity was to create something that would be inexpensive enough to reproduce, but also remain functional to detect energy using simple meters. A complete parts list is included and depending on what is already available in your classroom or lab costs can range from $80 to $160.
Using a simple analog electrical meter and different variations on the model students can test multiple models get a sense of the relative output of a wave-energy generator. Ultimately, these models can be brought to the HMSC for evaluation using their wave tank and oscilloscope and later be scaled to size for display in the HMSC Visitor Center.