A sensor that measures wind speed. Cup, propeller, and sonic anemometers are available.

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Cup Anemometer

A rotation-type anemometer consists of an array of three, or more, hemispherical cups mounted symmetrically about a vertical rotation axis. The rate of rotation of the cup array is a measure of the wind speed, as determined indirectly by gearing a mechanical or electrical counter to the shaft.

Hot-Wire Anemometer

Uses the wind induced changes in the temperature of a metal wire that is heated by an electric current and cooled by convective heat loss. As the wind speed increases, more heat is lost from the wire. Some hot-wire anemometers utilize the changes in the electric resistance of the wire.

Pressure Type Anemometer

Any instrument that measures the wind speed by measuring the pressure exerted by the wind upon the sensor element of that instrument.

Historical Notes

  1. 1450 The first anemometer, a disc placed perpendicular to the wind, was invented by the Italian architect Leon Battista Alberti. Robert Hooke, an English physicist, later reinvented the anemometer.

  2. 1846 John Thomas Romney Robinson, an Irish physicist, invented the spinning-cup anemometer. In this device, cups are attached to a vertical shaft; when the cups spin in the wind, it causes a gear to turn.

See also: Pitot Tube.

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Subjects: Meteorology Physics

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