Here's my take:
The only info from whoever uploaded the video is that the "brakes"
failed and there was a storm.
I assume that windmills that big must have rotating blades like planes
(and probably also brakes) so they can be stopped in high winds. My
guess is that the rotating mechanism failed, and the brakes probably
aren't strong enough to stop it with the blades in the normal
Seeing the video on a high-speed connection, it seems to be spinning
tremendously fast (several revolutions per second which is
astronomical for something that size).
I think one of the blades finally reached it's tensile limit and flew
off or otherwise failed.
The imbalance immediately twisted the generator section forward.
That torqued the other two blades and at least one of them hit the
tower and took it out.
I assure that seeing this thing spinning 20 times faster than normal
made it pretty obvious that something was wrong and gave someone time
to get their camera before it failed.
This was the same video that was shown (over and over again*) on
Destroyed In Seconds.
They also mentioned that the brake had failed which left the device to
spin at a rate it was not designed to spin at.
*That's the one thing I don't like about Destroyed In Seconds. Based
on the fact that the destruction of most things on the show really
does only take seconds, they show each video over and over and over
again to fill the time. There's only so many times you can watch the
same boat explode or the same motorcycle hit the wall before it begins
to get boring.
We did a convention in Las Vegas, and they brought in one of the blades. It
was the longest load I have ever seen come into the LVCC. I have seen two
or three of these going down the Interstate, but looking at them in National
Geographic, they must be some of the smaller ones compared to what's in
Europe. The ones on the Interstate were a caravan of guide cars, and I
would estimate that they were about 125' long. In England and Europe, they
can be built dockside, and then barged to the towers, never getting on
I would say that something failed, as those blades are meant to rotate so
that when they start spinning fast, they turn so that the edge hits the wind
straight on, therefore creating no spin.
No doubt about it in my mind as to what happened. Something or someone
screwed up. Yep. Definitely.
It's called feathering. With the blades fully feathered, no brakes would be
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re: "Then there are those exotic spirally ones that spin on a vertical
axis. Anyone ever seen those?"
I watched a show about a guy who designed some vertical windmills to
take advantage of the "natural" wind currents that occur between high
rise buildings in cities. He captures the winds as it reaches the roof
and generates power for the building to use. Neat idea.
The other neat "wind related" design I caught on a show was a super
high-rise building in Japan or Dubai or ? It had sort of a twist to
it so that there were no full length flat surfaces directly facing
wind coming from any direction. The design kind of forced the wind up
and around the building, helping to keep it steady even in the
strongest of winds.
I was wondering the same thing. It is evident that the support was struck by
something, either shot into it or flung by the blade. I have to wonder if
this was to be replaced and they did a destructive test on it.
But that might have been the test. Normally the blades feather after a
certain wind velocity to protect the machine. Maybe the test was to see
the result if they didn't feather which would be pretty much "turbine
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