# Anemometer: Wikis

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# Encyclopedia

### From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A hemispherical cup anemometer of the type invented in 1846 by John Thomas Romney Robinson
Cup-type anemometer with vertical axis deployed on Skagit Bay, Washington July–August, 2009.

An anemometer is a device for measuring the wind speed, and is one instrument used in a weather station. The term is derived from the Greek word anemos, meaning wind. The first known description of an anemometer was given by Leon Battista Alberti in around 1450[1].

Anemometers can be divided into two classes: those that measure the wind's velocity, and those that measure the wind's pressure; but as there is a close connection between the pressure and the velocity, an anemometer designed for one will give information about both.

## Velocity anemometers

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### Cup anemometers

A simple type of anemometer is the cup anemometer, invented (1846) by Dr. John Thomas Romney Robinson, of Armagh Observatory. It consisted of four hemispherical cups each mounted on one end of four horizontal arms, which in turn were mounted at equal angles to each other on a vertical shaft. The air flow past the cups in any horizontal direction turned the cups in a manner that was proportional to the wind speed. Therefore, counting the turns of the cups over a set time period produced the average wind speed for a wide range of speeds. On an anemometer with four cups it is easy to see that since the cups are arranged symmetrically on the end of the arms, the wind always has the hollow of one cup presented to it and is blowing on the back of the cup on the opposite end of the cross.

When Robinson first designed his anemometer, he asserted that the cups moved one-third of the speed of the wind, unaffected by the cup size or arm length. This was apparently confirmed by some early independent experiments, but it was incorrect. Instead, the ratio of the speed of the wind and that of the cups, the anemometer factor, depends on the dimensions of the cups and arms, and may have a value between two and a little over three. Every experiment involving an anemometer had to be repeated.

The three cup anemometer developed by the Canadian John Patterson in 1926 and subsequent cup improvements by Brevoort & Joiner of the USA in 1935 led to a cupwheel design which was linear and had an error of less than 3% up to 60 mph. Patterson found that each cup produced maximum torque when it was at 45 degrees to the wind flow. The three cup anemometer also had a more constant torque and responded more quickly to gusts than the four cup anemometer.

The three cup anemometer was further modified by the Australian Derek Weston in 1991 to measure both wind direction and wind speed. Weston added a tag to one cup, which causes the cupwheel speed to increase and decrease as the tag moves alternately with and against the wind. Wind direction is calculated from these cyclical changes in cupwheel speed, while wind speed is as usual determined from the average cupwheel speed.

Three cup anemometers are currently used as the industry standard for wind resource assessment studies

A windmill style of anemometer

### Windmill anemometers

The other forms of mechanical velocity anemometer may be described as belonging to the windmill type or propeller anemometer. In the Robinson anemometer the axis of rotation is vertical, but with this subdivision the axis of rotation must be parallel to the direction of the wind and therefore horizontal. Furthermore, since the wind varies in direction and the axis has to follow its changes, a wind vane or some other contrivance to fulfill the same purpose must be employed. An aerovane combines a propeller and a tail on the same axis to obtain accurate and precise wind speed and direction measurements from the same instrument. In cases where the direction of the air motion is always the same, as in the ventilating shafts of mines and buildings for instance, wind vanes, known as air meters are employed, and give most satisfactory results.

### Hot-wire anemometers

Hot-wire sensor

Hot wire anemometers use a very fine wire (on the order of several micrometers) electrically heated up to some temperature above the ambient. Air flowing past the wire has a cooling effect on the wire. As the electrical resistance of most metals is dependent upon the temperature of the metal (tungsten is a popular choice for hot-wires), a relationship can be obtained between the resistance of the wire and the flow velocity.[2]

Several ways of implementing this exist, and hot-wire devices can be further classified as CCA (Constant-Current Anemometer), CVA (Constant-Voltage Anemometer) and CTA (Constant-Temperature Anemometer). The voltage output from these anemometers is thus the result of some sort of circuit within the device trying to maintain the specific variable (current, voltage or temperature) constant.

Additionally, PWM (pulse-width modulation) anemometers are also used, wherein the velocity is inferred by the time length of a repeating pulse of current that brings the wire up to a specified resistance and then stops until a threshold "floor" is reached, at which time the pulse is sent again.

Hot-wire anemometers, while extremely delicate, have extremely high frequency-response and fine spatial resolution compared to other measurement methods, and as such are almost universally employed for the detailed study of turbulent flows, or any flow in which rapid velocity fluctuations are of interest.

### Laser Doppler anemometers

Drawing of a laser anemometer. The laser is emitted (1) through the front lens (6) of the anemometer and is backscattered off the air molecules (7). The backscattered radiation (dots) re-enter the device and are reflected and directed into a detector (12).

Laser Doppler anemometers use a beam of light from a laser that is split into two beams, with one propagated out of the anemometer. Particulates (or deliberately introduced seed material) flowing along with air molecules near where the beam exits reflect, or backscatter, the light back into a detector, where it is measured relative to the original laser beam. When the particles are in great motion, they produce a Doppler shift for measuring wind speed in the laser light, which is used to calculate the speed of the particles, and therefore the air around the anemometer.[3]

### Sonic anemometers

3D ultrasonic anemometer

Sonic anemometers, first developed in the 1970s, use ultrasonic sound waves to measure wind speed and direction. They measure wind velocity based on the time of flight of sonic pulses between pairs of transducers. Measurements from pairs of transducers can be combined to yield a measurement of 1-, 2-, or 3-dimensional flow. The spatial resolution is given by the path length between transducers, which is typically 10 to 20 cm. Sonic anemometers can take measurements with very fine temporal resolution, 20 Hz or better, which make them well suited for turbulence measurements. The lack of moving parts makes them appropriate for long term use in exposed automated weather stations and weather buoys where the accuracy and reliability of traditional cup-and-vane anemometers is adversely affected by salty air or large amounts of dust. Their main disadvantage is the distortion of the flow itself by the structure supporting the transducers, which requires a correction based upon wind tunnel measurements to minimize the effect. An international standard for this process, ISO 16622 Meteorology—Sonic anemometers/thermometers—Acceptance test methods for mean wind measurements is in general circulation.

Two-dimensional (wind speed and wind direction) sonic anemometers are used in applications such as weather stations, ship navigation, wind turbines, aviation and weather buoys.

### Ping-pong ball anemometers

A common anemometer for basic use is constructed from a ping-pong ball attached to a string. When the wind blows horizontally, it presses on and moves the ball; because ping-pong balls are very lightweight, they move easily in light winds. Measuring the angle between the string-ball apparatus and the line normal to the ground gives an estimate of the wind speed.

This type of anemometer is mostly used for middle-school level instruction which most students make themselves, but a similar device was also flown on Phoenix Mars Lander.

## Pressure anemometers

The first designs of anemometers which measure the pressure were divided into plate and tube classes.

### Plate anemometers

These are the earliest anemometers and are simply a flat plate suspended from the top so that the wind deflects the plate. In 1450, the Italian art architect Leon Battista Alberti invented the first mechanical anemometer; in 1664 it was re-invented by Robert Hooke (who is often mistakenly considered the inventor of the first anemometer). Later versions of this form consisted of a flat plate, either square or circular, which is kept normal to the wind by a wind vane. The pressure of the wind on its face is balanced by a spring. The compression of the spring determines the actual force which the wind is exerting on the plate, and this is either read off on a suitable gauge, or on a recorder. Instruments of this kind do not respond to light winds, are inaccurate for high wind readings, and are slow at responding to variable winds. Plate anemometers have been used to trigger high wind alarms on bridges.

### Tube anemometers

Helicoid propeller anemometer incorporating a wind vane for orientation.

James Lind's anemometer of 1775 consisted simply of a glass U tube containing liquid, a manometer, with one end bent in a horizontal direction to face the wind and the other vertical end remains parallel to the wind flow. Though the Lind was not the first it was the most practical and best known anemometer of this type. If the wind blows into the mouth of a tube it causes an increase of pressure on one side of the manometer. The wind over the open end of a vertical tube causes little change in pressure on the other side of the manometer. The resulting liquid change in the U tube is an indication of the wind speed. Small departures from the true direction of the wind causes large variations in the magnitude.

The highly successful metal pressure tube anemometer of William Henry Dines in 1892 utilized the same pressure difference between the open mouth of a straight tube facing the wind and a ring of small holes in a vertical tube which is closed at the upper end. Both are mounted at the same height. The pressure differences on which the action depends are very small, and special means are required to register them. The recorder consists of a float in a sealed chamber partially filled with water. The pipe from the straight tube is connected to the top of the sealed chamber and the pipe from the small tubes is directed into the bottom inside the float. Since the pressure difference determines the vertical position of the float this is a measure of the wind speed.

The great advantage of the tube anemometer lies in the fact that the exposed part can be mounted on a high pole, and requires no oiling or attention for years; and the registering part can be placed in any convenient position. Two connecting tubes are required. It might appear at first sight as though one connection would serve, but the differences in pressure on which these instruments depend are so minute, that the pressure of the air in the room where the recording part is placed has to be considered. Thus if the instrument depends on the pressure or suction effect alone, and this pressure or suction is measured against the air pressure in an ordinary room, in which the doors and windows are carefully closed and a newspaper is then burnt up the chimney, an effect may be produced equal to a wind of 10 mi/h (16 km/h); and the opening of a window in rough weather, or the opening of a door, may entirely alter the registration.

While the Dines anemometer had an error of only 1% at 10 mph it did not respond very well to low winds due to the poor response of the flat plate vane required to turn the head into the wind. In 1918 an aerodynamic vane with eight times the torque of the flat plate overcame this problem.

### Effect of density on measurements

In the tube anemometer the pressure is measured, although the scale is usually graduated as a velocity scale. In cases where the density of the air is significantly different from the calibration value (as on a high mountain, or with an exceptionally low barometer) an allowance must be made. Approximately 1½% should be added to the velocity recorded by a tube anemometer for each 1000 ft (5% for each kilometer) above sea-level.

## Notes

1. ^ Invention of the Meteorological Instruments, W.E. Knowles Middleton, Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1969
2. ^ "Hot-wire Anemometer explanation". eFunda. Retrieved September 18, 2006.
3. ^ Iten, Paul D. (June 29, 1976). "Laser doppler anemometer". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved September 18, 2006.

## References

• Dines, William Henry. Anemometer. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.
• Meteorological Instruments, W.E. Knowles Middleton and Athelstan F. Spilhaus, Third Edition revised, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1953
• Invention of the Meteorological Instruments, W.E. Knowles Middleton, The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1969

# 1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

### From LoveToKnow 1911

ANEMOMETER (from Gr. avgµos, wind, and p. rpov, a measure), an instrument for measuring either the velocity or the pressure of the wind. Anemometers may be divided into two classes, (1) those that measure the velocity, (2) those that measure the pressure of the wind, but inasmuch as there is a close connexion between the pressure and the velocity, a suitable anemometer of either class will give information about both these quantities.

Velocity anemometers may again be subdivided into two classes, (1) those which do not require a wind vane or weathercock, (2) those which do. The Robinson anemometer, invented (1846) by Dr Thomas Romney Robinson, of Armagh Observatory, is the best-known and most generally used instrument, and belongs to the first of these. It consists of four hemispherical cups, mounted one on each end of a pair of horizontal arms, which lie at right angles to each other and form a cross. A vertical axis round which the cups turn passes through the centre of the cross; a train of wheel-work counts up the number of turns which this axis makes, and from the number of turns made in any given time the velocity of the wind during that time is calculated. The cups are placed symmetrically on the end of the arms, and it is easy to see that the wind always has the hollow of one cup presented to it; the back of the cup on the opposite end of the cross also faces the wind, but the pressure on it is naturally less, and hence a continual rotation is produced; each cup in turn as it comes round providing the necessary force. The two great merits of this anemometer are its simplicity and the absence of a wind vane; on the other hand it is not well adapted to leaving a record on paper of the actual velocity at any definite instant, and hence it leaves a short but violent gust unrecorded. Unfortunately, when Dr Robinson first designed his anemometer, he stated that no matter what the size:of the cups or the length of the arms, the cups always moved with one-third of the velocity of the wind. This result was apparently confirmed by some independent experiments, but it Is very far from the truth, for it is now known that the actual ratio, or factor as it is commonly called, of the velocity of the wind to that of the cups depends very largely on the dimensions of the cups and arms, and may have almost any value between two and a little over three. The result has been that wind velocities published in many official publications have of ten been in error by nearly 5 0%.

The other forms of velocity anemometer may be described as belonging to the windmill type. In the Robinson anemometer the axis of rotation is vertical, but with this subdivision the axis of rotation must be parallel to the direction of the wind and therefore horizontal. Furthermore, since the wind varies in direction and the axis has to follow its changes, a wind vane or some other contrivance to fulfil the same purpose must be employed. This type of instrument is very little used in England, but seems to be more in favour in France. In cases where the direction of the air motion is always the same, as in the ventilating shafts of mines and buildings for instance, these anemometers, known, however, as air meters, are employed, and give most satisfactory results.

Anemometers which measure the pressure may be divided into the plate and tube classes, but the former term must be taken as including a good many miscellaneous forms. The simplest type of this form consists of a flat plate, which is usually square or circular, while a wind vane keeps this exposed normally to the wind, and the pressure of the wind on its face is balanced by a spring. The distortion of the spring determines the actual force which the wind is exerting on the plate, and this is either read off on a suitable gauge, or leaves a record in the ordinary way by means of a pen writing on a sheet of paper moved by clockwork. Instruments of this kind have been in use for a long series of years, and have recorded pressures up to and even exceeding 60 lb per sq. ft., but it is now fairly certain that these high values are erroneous, and due, not to the wind, but to faulty design of the anemometer.

The fact is that the wind is continually varying in force, and while the ordinary pressure plate is admirably adapted for measuring the force of a steady and uniform wind, it is entirely unsuitable for following the rapid fluctuations of the natural wind. To make matters worse, the pen which records the motion of the plate is often connected with it by an extensive system of chains and levers. A violent gust strikes the plate, which is driven back and carried by its own momentum far past the position in which a steady wind of the same force would place it; by the time the motion has reached the pen it has been greatly exaggerated by the springiness of the connexion, and not only is the plate itself driven too far back, but also its position is wrongly recorded by the pen; the combined errors act the same way, and more than double the real maximum pressure may be indicated on the chart.

A modification of the ordinary pressure-plate has recently been designed. In this arrangement a catch is provided so that the plate being once driven back by the wind cannot return until released by hand; but the catch does not prevent the plate being driven back farther by a gust stronger than the last one that moved it. Examples of these plates are erected on the west coast of England, where in the winter fierce gales often occur; a pressure of 30 lb per sq. ft. has not been shown by them, and instances exceeding 20 lb are extremely rare.

Many other modifications have been used and suggested. Probably a sphere would prove most useful for a pressure anemometer, since owing to its symmetrical shape it would not require a weathercock. A small light sphere hanging from the end of 30 or 40 ft. of fine sewing cotton has been employed to measure the wind velocity passing over a kite, the tension of the cotton being recorded, and this plan has given satisfactory results.

Lind's anemometer, which consists simply of a U tube containing liquid with one end bent into a horizontal direction to face the wind, is perhaps the original form from which the tube class of instrument has sprung. If the wind blows into the mouth of a tube it causes an increase of pressure inside and also of course an equal increase in all closed vessels with which the mouth is in airtight communication. If it blows horizontally over the open end of a vertical tube it causes a decrease of pressure, but this fact is not of any practical use in anemometry, because the magnitude of the decrease depends on the wind striking the tube exactly at right angles to its axis, the most trifling departure from the true direction causing great variations in the magnitude. The pressure tube anemometer (fig. 1) utilizes the increased pressure in the open mouth of a straight tube facing the wind, and the decrease of pressure caused inside when the wind blows over a ring of small holes drilled through the metal of a vertical tube which is closed at the upper end. The pressure differences on which the action depends are very small, and special means are required to register them, but in the ordinary form of recording anemometer (fig. 2), any wind capable of turning the vane which keeps the mouth of the tube facing the wind is capable of registration.

The great advantage of the tube anemometer lies in the fact that the exposed part can be mounted on a high pole, and requires no oiling or attention for years; and the registering part can be placed in any convenient position, no matter how far from the external part. Two connecting tubes are required. It might appear at first sight as though one connexion would serve, but the differences in pressure on which these instruments depend are so minute, that the pressure of the air in the room where the recording part is placed has to be considered. Thus if the instrument depends on the pressure or suction effect alone, and this pressure or suction is measured against the air pressure in an ordinary room, in which the doors and windows are carefully closed and a newspaper is then burnt up the chimney, an effect may be produced equal to a wind of io m. an hour; and the opening of a window in rough weather, or the opening of a door, may entirely alter the registration.

The connexion between the velocity and the pressure of the wind is one that is not yet known with absolute certainty. Many text-books on engineering give the relation P= 005 v 2 when P is the pressure in lb per sq. ft. and v the velocity in miles per hour. The history of this untrue relation is curious. It was given about the end of the 18th century as based on some experiments, but with a footnote stating that little reliance could be placed on it. The statement without the qualifying note was copied from book to book, and at last received general acceptance. There is no doubt that under average conditions of atmospheric density, the .005 should be replaced by 003, for many independent authorities using different methods have found values very close to this last figure. It is probable that the wind pressure is not strictly proportional to the extent of the surface exposed. Pressure plates are generally of moderate size, from a half or quarter of a sq. ft. up to two or three sq. ft., are round or square, and for these sizes, and shapes, and of course for a flat surface, the relation P = .003 is fairly correct.

In the tube anemometer also it is really the pressure that is measured, although the scale is usually graduated as a velocity scale. In cases where the density of the air is not of average value, as on a high mountain, or with an exceptionally low barometer for example, an allowance must be made. Approximately II % should be added to the velocity recorded by a tube anemometer for each 1000 ft. that it stands above sea-level. (W. H. Di.)

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