Whether you’ve heard a friend mention that he just got an anemometer or you saw one of these devices on a science program together with a borescope from a previous post, you are probably curious as to what this instrument is and what it does. Below you’ll find information about this exciting device as well the many ways in which you can use it.
What is an anemometer and what does it do?
An anemometer is basically an instrument that is used to measure the speed of the wind just like analytical scales are used in a lab to weigh different samples. This device can also determine the wind direction, which along with the wind speed, can give meteorologists the possibility to calculate wind pressure that helps them with weather predictions.
There are many types of anemometers, from the conventional models to digital variants to even high-precision laser machines. A basic mechanic anemometer has a few horizontal arms, each with an attached cup. The action of the wind will cause the cups to rotate.
This device will then count the number of rotations per a given time interval which is then used to calculate wind speed. Wind is not a constant force, as you get gusts of wind as well as lulls. That is the main reason why experts measure the wind in short time intervals and then calculate an average wind speed.
Check the wind speed before you go out
The most fun way to use an anemometer is to get help in determining if the weather conditions are appropriate for going out to perform various activities. You would probably need to postpone that scheduled barbecue for which you planned to use the kitchen scale we recommended you read about, if you notice strong winds that could scatter burning embers and pose a fire hazard.
If you plan on getting on top of the house to repair the roof or replace a few tiles or shingles, then you might find an anemometer handy, since it could show you when the wind is blowing too hard to be able to safely perform any repairs.
You can also check the wind speed to determine whether you can enjoy a bicycle ride. You probably wouldn’t want to pack all your gear and jump on the bike only to discover half an hour after you’ve left the house that the weather isn’t too cozy for a pleasant ride. You can still enjoy your little adventure, as long as the wind is blowing in the right direction.
Never miss the perfect weather for wind sports
Whether you’re an amateur surfer or an experienced paraglider pilot, you can use an anemometer to monitor the wind speed and make sure that you pick the right time to go adventuring.
There are loads of sports where you can use an anemometer, from kitesurfing to sailing, ice boating, kite flying, paragliding, etc. With this device, you can ensure that you never miss the opportunity to enjoy your favorite sport in perfect conditions.
Get a digital device for convenient measurements
With a good anemometer for the money, you can do a lot more than just check the weather and have fun with wind sports. Anemometers are scientific measuring devices that are used all throughout the world. You don’t necessarily have to get a professional model unless you will need precise wind speed measurements.
You can opt for a handheld digital anemometer that comes with easy-to-use controls and multiple functions which can give you readings of more parameters than just wind speed, direction, and pressure.
The great part about these modern devices is that you don’t have to be a scientist to use them, and neither do you need to do any complex calculations, as many anemometers will do all the work so you only have to read the measurement values displayed on the large LCD screen.
Increase the performance of your wind turbine
If you have a wind turbine or are planning to install one pretty soon, then an anemometer can help you optimize its performance so that you get to increase electricity output. For a wind turbine, you need to ensure that you install it in the right spot that gets the strongest winds. That usually means away from trees and buildings that can slow wind down.
If your wind turbine is already installed, you get to approximate energy output and possibly adjust for efficiency, as well as predict total energy production, which can be quite handy if you live in a remote area far from the main electrical grid and you have to rely on batteries.
Get accurate data for meteorological research
If you’re studying meteorology, then an anemometer will become essential for your work. You can opt for a static device or can even take measurements on the field by getting a portable anemometer.
You can find mechanical handheld variants which use a spinning fan to generate magnetic pulses and give both generic readings in the Beaufort scale or accurate wind speeds in kilometers per hour or miles per hour. Some instruments have a mechanical component and a digital component so that you get the best of both worlds.
For professional use, you might need to consider getting specialized equipment. High-end models can actually combine multiple types of instruments such as an ultrasonic anemometer and a propeller anemometer.
Measure airflow velocity
Physicists and engineers may also use laser interferometer anemometers for various measurements and experimental work. These instruments can measure the wind speed by using beams of light.
These give extremely accurate readings, and they are often used in wind tunnels in aerospace or automotive engineering, since the laser anemometers can calculate the speed of winds that go around various vehicles in order to test their aerodynamic capabilities and improve their design to reduce air friction and fuel consumption, etc.
While you will most likely never get a laser anemometer to fit into your garage, it’s exciting to see how it works and how many applications it has. And then, you never know when you’re going to use this information to apply for a scholarship.
So whether you want to get an anemometer for home use or need a professional model for scientific work, there are many models you can choose from. Get an instrument with a quality design that can provide you with accurate measurements every time, or purchase a device that’s easy to use and which won’t cost you an arm and a leg.