Form 6 Physics Notes Msomi Maktaba All Notes Physics Study Notes



(i)    Agriculture physics

–         Influence of solar radiation on plant growth.

–         Influence of wind, humidity, rainfall and air temperature on plant growth.

–         Soil environmental component which influence plant growth.

(ii) Energy from the environment

  Photovoltaic energy

 Wind energy

   Geothermal energy

  Wave energy

(iii)           Geophysics (Earth quakes)

   Elastic rebound theory

   Types of seismic waves

  Propagation of seismic waves


(iv)           Environmental pollution

Types of pollutant in the atmosphere

 Transport mechanisms of atmospheric pollutant

 Nuclear waste and their disposal

 Effects of pollution on visibility and optical properties of materials.


Environmental physics is an interdisciplinary subject that integrates the physics processes in the following disciplines:  the atmosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the geosphere.

Environmental physics can be defined as the response of living organisms to their environment within the framework of the physics of environmental processes and issues.

It is structures within the relationship between the atmosphere, the oceans (hydrosphere), land (lithosphere), soils and vegetation (biosphere).

It embraces the following themes:

(i)    Human environment and survival physics,

(ii)    Built environment

(iii)   Renewable energy

(iv)    Remote sensing

(v)     Weather, climate and climate change, and

(vi)   Environmental health.

The environment may be defined as the medium in which any entity finds itself, For example, for a cloud its environment may be the region of the atmosphere in which it is formed.


Agriculture physics is concerned with physics environment in relation to plant growth.

(a)   Influence of Radiation Environment on Plant Growth

Radiation environments. Refer to radiations present in the atmosphere, commonly coming from the sun.

Components of solar radiation

The main components of solar radiation are:

(i)   Visible light

(ii)    Infrared radiation, and

(iii)   Ultraviolet radiation.



Positive effect

An optimum amount of heat on plant favours the process of photosynthesis.  This enables a plant to make its own food and hence provide its growth.

Negative effects

(i)  Excessive solar radiation (ultraviolet light) on plants leads to bleaching of green pigment (chlorophyll).  This lowers the amount of food produced by photosynthesis to plant and hence a plant may die.

(ii) Excessive solar radiation on plants leads to excessive water loss in the form of water vapour commonly on plant leaves (transpiration).  Hence wilting (drying) of plants may occur.

(b)  Influence of Aerial Environment on Plant Growth

Aerial environments refer to the atmospheric condition resulting from a series of processes occurring in the atmosphere.  These include air temperature, wind, humidity and rainfall.


Positive effects

      (a)  Wind acts as pollinating agent for some plants and hence favours plant productivity.

      (b)  Wind also favours evaporation of water from plant leaves and thus maintains water balance for proper plant growth.

Negative effects

       (a)   Excessive wind on environments leads to plant breaking or cutting of tree branches.  This may lead to the death of plant.

    (b)  As the wind speed increases further, cell and Cuticular damage occurs, followed by death of plant tissue, and a gnarled appearance becomes more apparent.

      (c)  At low wind speeds, the effect seems to be an increase in transpiration, which results in water stress.  This stress causes the plant to adapt by decreasing leaf area and internodes length, while increasing root growth and stem diameter.

      (d)  Strong wind may also cause shade off flowers; this lowers plant productivity.

 Effect of Rainfall on Plant Growth

Positive effect

An optimum amount of rainfall on plants favours its growth.  Water is a raw material for the process of photosynthesis from which plants obtain their food and hence their growth.

Negative effect

 Excessive rainfall leads to water logging in soil which in turn leads to root spoil and hence the death of plant.

Effect of Humidity on Plant Growth

Positive effect

 Favourable humidity on plants help plants to conserve water for various activities and in seeds helps the development of new leaves.

Negative effect

Low humidity results into a greater rate of transpiration and hence may result into plant drying.

Effect of Air Temperature of Plant Growth

Positive effect

An Optimum temperature on plants enhances enzymic activities which in turn gives favourable conditions for plant growth.

Negative effect

(a)   High temperature denature enzymes commonly for photosynthesis and hence the death of plant.

(b)  Low temperature inactivates the plant growth enzymes, hence low growth rate.

Wind Belts

Wind belts are seasonal strong wind moving in a specified direction in a certain region of the earth.

 The global wind belts are formed by two main factors:

(i)                  The unequal heating of the earth by sunlight and

(ii)                The earth’s spin.

Here is a simple explanation of the process

The unequal heating makes the tropical regions warmer than the Polar Regions.  As a result, there is generally higher pressure at the poles and lower at the equator.  So the atmosphere tries to send the cold air toward the equator at the surface and send warm air northward toward the pole at higher levels.

 Unfortunately, the spin of the earth prevents this from being a direct route, and the flow in the atmosphere breaks into three zones between the equator and each pole.

These form the six global wind belts: 3 in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and 3 in the Southern (SH).  They are generally known as:

(1)  The Trade winds, which blow from the northeast (NH) and southeast (SH), are, found in the sub tropic regions from about 30 degrees latitude to the equator.

(2)  The Prevailing Westerlies (SW in NH in SH) which blow in the middle latitudes.

(3)  The Polar Easterlies which blow from the east in the Polar Regions.

Effects of wind belts to plant

1.  Wind belts because the loss of plant leaves and flowers hence lower plant productivity and growth.  Loss of leaves lowers the rate of photosynthesis.

2.    Wind belts sometimes cause plants to lean in direction of moving wing. This changes their direction of growth

3.    Trees are broken by the strong wind.

(c)   Soil Environment Components Which Influence Plant Growth

Soil is composed of both rock particles and organic matter (humus) – the remains of plants and animals in various stages of decomposition.  The humus serves as food for many living organisms.  Within the soil is a large population of animals, plants.  These break down the humus into soluble substances that can be absorbed by the roots of large plants.

Components of a soil

Soil is composed of:

(    (a)   Air, 25% by volume which supports life of soil organisms,

     (b)  Water, 25% which dissolves minerals so that are easily absorbed by plants,

     (c)  Organic matter (humus), 5% by volume,

     (d)  Inorganic matter (minerals), 45% by volume,

     (e)  Biotic organisms, micro – organisms like earth worm, centipedes, millipede, bacteria which decompose organic matter.

Types of soil

 (i)    Sandy soil

(ii)     Silt soil,

(iii)    Clay soil, and

(iv)    Loamy soil (sand + silt + clay soil mixture)

Water Movement in the soil

 Two forces primarily affect water movement through soils, (a) gravity and (b) capillary action.

 Capillary action refers to the attraction of water into soil pores – an attraction which makes water move in soil. Capillary action involves two types of attraction – adhesion and cohesion.

 Adhesion is the attraction of water to solid surfaces.

 Cohesion is the attraction of water to itself.

 Speed of water in a particular soil type depends on:

(i)   How much water is in the soil, and

(ii)  Porosity of the soil.

The movement of water in the solid is mainly due to gravity.  The porosity gives a measure of how much water the soil can hold and the rate at which water flows through the soil.  Large pore spaces give a faster rate and vice versa.

An experiment to study water movement in soil

 An experiment to demonstrate the rate of flow of water in the soil is done using a glass tube and sand type filled in it.  Water is poured into the tube and the time taken for water to reach the bottom of the tube in notes.

Unsaturated soil

Saturated soil

Soil type

Water speed

Soil type

Water speed













i. Sand soil have large pore spaces thus allows water to travel downwards through it at a fastest rate.

ii. Clay soil can hold water as has very fine pore spaces.

iii. Loamy soil allows water movement at a medium rate.

Heat transfer in the soil

Within the soil heat is transferred by a conduction process. Since soil is poor conductor of heat most of the heat from the atmosphere appears at the surface of the earth.

An optimum soil temperature favours plants growth but a high temperature can lead to the rotting of plant roots.

(d)  Techniques for the Improvement of the Plant Environment

Plant environment can be improved by using wind breaks, shading and mulching.


Shading is the process of obstructing plants from excessive solar radiation.

Positive Impacts of Shading

1.   Prevents excessive loss of water by plants through transpiration.  This enhances plant productivity.

2.    Preserve moisture in the soil and hence water supply to plant.


Mulching is the process of covering the soil by dry leaves, grasses and or papers.

Benefits (Advantages) of Mulching

1.    Improve soil moisture. Bare soil is exposed to heat, wind and compaction loses water through evaporation and is less able to absorb irrigation or rainfall.  Using mulches, the soil has greater water retention, reduced evaporation, and reduced weeds.  Mulch can also protect trees and shrubs from drought stress and cold injury

2.    Reduce soil erosion and compaction. Mulches protect soils from wind water, traffic induced erosion and compaction that directly contribute to root stress and poor plant health.

3.      Maintenance of optimal soil temperatures. Mulches have shown to lower soil temperatures in summer months.  Extreme temperatures can kill fine plant roots which can cause stress and root rot.  Mulches protect soils from extreme temperatures, either cold or hot.

4.      Increase soil nutrition. Mulches with relatively high nitrogen content often result in higher yields, but low nitrogen mulches, such as straw, sawdust and bark, can also increase soil fertility and plant nutrition.

5.   Reduction of salt and pesticide contamination. In arid landscapes, evaporating water leaves behind salt crusts.  Because mulches reduce evaporation, water is left in the soil and salts are diluted.  Organic mulches can actively accelerate soil desalinization and help degrade pesticides and other contaminants.

6.      Improve plant establishment and growth. Mulches are used to enhance the establishment of many woody and herbaceous species.  Mulches improve seed germination and seed survival, enhance root establishment, transplant survival, and increase plant performance.

7.    Reduction of disease. Mulches will reduce the splashing of rain or irrigation water, which can carry spores of disease organisms to stems and leaves of plants.  Populations of beneficial microbes that reduce soil pathogens can be increased with mulches.  Mulches can combat disease organisms directly as well.

8.     Reduction of Weeds. Using mulches for weed control is highly effective.  Mulches can reduce seed germination of many weed species and reduce light, which stresses existing weeds.

9.     Reduce pesticide use. Mulches reduce weeds, plant stress, and susceptibility to pests and pathogens which translates to reduced use of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides.

Mulch Problems (disadvantages of mulching)

1.     i. Acidification.  Some types of mulches can increase soil acidity.

2.    ii. Disease.  Many mulches made from diseased plant materials can be composted or treated at temperatures that kill pathogens that can be transmitted to healthy plants.

3.     iii.Pests.  Many organic mulches, especially wood – based mulches, have the reputation as being “pest magnets”.

4.   iv. Weed contamination. Improperly treated crop residues and composts as well as bark mulches are often carriers of weed seed.  Mulch must be deep enough to suppress weeds and promote healthy soils and plants.  Weed control and enhanced plant performance are directly linked to mulch depth.

v. Wind Breaks

Wind breaks are long rooted strong plants (trees) that are used to obstruct the path of wind or to slow down the wind.

Windbreaks provide many benefits to soil, water, plants, animals and man. They are an important part of the modern day agricultural landscape.  Windbreaks come in many different sizes and shapes to serve many different conservation purposes.

In agriculture, wind breaks protect small growing plants from strong blowing wind

Advantages of Windbreaks to Plant Environment

1.     i. Control soil erosion. Windbreaks prevent wind erosion from causing loss of soil productivity. This eliminates plant roots stresses and thus favours plant growth condition.

2.     ii. Increase plant yield. Windbreak research substantiates that field windbreaks improve crop yields which offsets the loss of production from the land taken out of cultivation.

3.      Pesticide sprays. Windbreaks control pesticide spray drift and provide buffers to delineate property lines and protect neighbors.


Example 01

(a)  What is agriculture physics?                                                                             (02 marks)

(b)  What are the components of a soil? How do they support the life of a plant?  (06 marks)

(c)  Explain briefly how soil temperature affects plant growth.                               (02 marks)

Example 02

(a)   What do you understand by the word environmental physics?                (01 marks)

(b)  Explain how the following climatic factors influence plant growth: air temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind.   (06 marks)

(c)  What are wind belts?  Explain the effect of wind belts on plant productivity. (03 marks)

Example 03

(a)   What is mulching?                                                                                            (02 marks)

(b)  Give two advantages and two disadvantages of mulching.                               (04 marks)

(c)  Discuss the heating effect of solar radiation to plant growth.                       (04 marks)

Example 04

      (a)   Explain two factors that primarily affect water movement in the soil           (03 marks)

      (b)  Explain the soil environment that favours high crop yield                               (04 marks)

      (c)  What is shading and what is its purpose?                                                            (03 marks)

Example 05

      (a)   (i)  Mention the components of solar radiation.
        (ii)  How do those components affect plant growth?                             (04½ marks)

      (b)  What are wind breaks?                                                                                (02 marks)

      (c)  What are the advantages of wind breaks to plant environment?                      (03½ marks)



Energy is defined as the capacity to do work Or is defined as ability to do work.

 Energy is measured in Joules (symbol J)

 Types of energy according to their usefulness

(i)   High grade energy

(ii)    Low grade energy

i. High grade
energy is the energy that is easily transformed into other forms of energy and is more suitable for doing works.

Examples are chemical and electrical energy.

ii. Low grade energy is the one that is not easily transformed into anything else.

Examples are the kinetic energy of molecules due to their randomness and the potential energy due to the forces between molecules.


There are two types of energy sources, namely:

(i)    Primary energy sources,

(ii)   Secondary energy sources.

i. Primary energy sources

Primary energy sources are sources of energy that are used in the form in which they occur naturally.

Primary energy sources fall into two groups:

(a)   Finite energy sources,

(b)   Renewable sources.

a. Finite energy sources are those energy sources that last after a number of years when exploited.

Examples are coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear fuels.

b. Renewable energy sources:  these cannot be exhausted.  Examples are solar energy, biofuels, hydroelectric power, wind power, wave power, tidal and geothermal power, wind power, wave power, tidal and geothermal power.

ii. Secondary energy sources

Secondary energy sources are used in the non – natural form.


Nature of solar energy

The sun’s energy is produced by thermonuclear fusion.

Not all of the solar radiation arriving at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere reaches the Earth’s surface.

About 30% is reflected back into space by atmospheric dusts and by the polar ice caps.

About 47% is absorbed during the day by the land and sea and becomes internal energy (i.e. heats the Earth).  At night this is radiated back into space as infrared.

23% causes evaporation from the oceans and sea to form water vapour.  This results into rain and hence hydroelectric power.

-0.2% causes convection currents in the air, creating wind power which in turn causes wave power.

-0.02% is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis and is stored in them as chemical energy.  Plants are sources of biofuels

Solar constant

Solar constant is defined as the solar energy falling per second on a square meter placed normal to the sun’s rays at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, when the Earth is at mean distance from the sun.

Its value is about 1.35 kWm2

 The amount of solar radiation received at any point on the earth’s surface depends on:

 (i)  The geographical location,

(ii)   The season, (summer or winter)

(iii)   The time of the day, the lower the sun is in the sky the greater is the atmospheric absorption.

(iv)   The altitude; the greater the height above sea level the less is the absorption by the atmosphere, clouds and pollution


A solar cell (PV, cells) is a PN junction device which converts solar energy directly into electrical energy.

How it Works

PV cells are made of at least two layers of semiconductor material.  One layer has a positive charge (p – type material), the other negative (n-type material).  When light enters the cell, some of the photons from the light are absorbed by the semiconductor atoms, freeing electrons from the cell’s negative layer to flow through an external circuit and back into the positive layer.  This flow of electrons produces electric current.

Uses of the solar cell

1.       (i)Are used to power electronics in satellite and space vehicles.

2.      (ii)Are used as power supply to some calculators.

3.      (iii)Are used to generate electricity for home, office and industrial uses.

Series arrangement of solar cells

Solar panel (module) is a sealed, weatherproof package containing a number of interconnected solar cells so as to increase utility of a solar cell.

When two modules are wired together in series, their voltage is doubled while the current stays constant.

When two modules are wired in parallel, their current is doubled while the voltage stays constant.

To achieve the desired voltage and current, modules are wired in series and parallel into what is called a PV array. 
The flexibility of the modular PV system allows designers to create solar power systems that can meet a wide variety of electrical needs, no matter how large or small.


Efficiency of a photovoltaic system

The output power of a solar cell depends on:

(i)    The amount of light energy from the sun falling on a solar panel (the intensity of light).

(ii)   The orientation of the solar panel.  More electricity is produced if light falls perpendicular to panels.

(iii)   The surface area of the panel.  Large area collects more solar energy and hence greater electricity.

The best designed solar cell can generate 240 Wm-2 in bright sun light at an efficiency of about 24%.

Advantages of photovoltaic systems

1.   Solar cells can produce electricity without noise or air pollution.

2.   A photovoltaic system requires no fuels to purchase. 

3.    Panels of photovoltaic cells are used for small – scale electricity generation in remote areas where there is sufficient sun.

4.    Net metering:  This has the potential to help shave peak loads, which generally coincide with maximum PV power production.

5.    The electricity from a PV system is controllable.

Disadvantages of photovoltaic systems

1.   They require an inverter to convert the d.c output into a. c for transmission.

2.   They produce electricity only when there is sunlight.  Hence they need backup batteries to provide energy storage.

3.   Suitable in areas which receives enough sunlight.

4.   Photovoltaic large scale power generation is cost effective.  This is due to large surface area of cells required for generating high power outputs and the need to convert d.c to a.c for transmission.

5.   Compared to other energy sources, PV systems are an expensive way to generate electricity.

6.   The available solar resource depends on two variables: The latitude at which the array is located and the average cloud cover.


 Winds are due to conventional currents in the air caused by uneven heating in the earth’s surface by the sun.

 Wind energy is extracted by a device called wind turbine.

 Wind speed increases with the height; it is greatest in hilly areas.  It is also greater over the sea and coastal areas where there is less surface drag.

 Wind turbines are also called aerogenerator or wind mills (old name)

Types of wind turbines

There are two types of wind turbines;

(i)    Horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT)

(ii)  Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT)

Horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT)

HAWT has two or more long vertical blades rotating about a horizontal axis.  Modern HAWTs usually feature rotors that resemble aircraft propellers, which operate on similar aerodynamic principles, i.e. the air flow over the airfoil shaped blades creates a lifting force that turns the rotor.  The nacelle of a HAWT houses a gearbox and generator (alternator).

Advantage of HAWT

1.   HAWTS can be placed on towers to take advantage of higher winds farther from the ground.

Disadvantages of HAWT

1.  The alternator (generator) is paced at the top of the supporting tower.

2.  Can produce power in a particular wind direction.

Vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT)

 In vertical axis, the blades are long and vertical and can accept wind in any direction.  The blades are propelled by the drag force on the blades as the wind flows.

Advantages of VAWT

1.      It can harness wind from any direction

2.      Typically operate closer to the ground, which has the advantage of allowing placement of heavy equipment, like the generator and gearbox, near ground level rather than in the nacelle.

Disadvantages of VAWT

1.      Winds are lower near ground level, so for the same wind and capture area, less power will be produced compared to HAWT.

2.      Time varying power output due to variation of power during a single rotation of the blade.

3.     The need for guy wires to support the tower.

4.       Darrieus VAWTS are not self starting like HAWTS. (More colorful picture and videos during lecture)

Power of a Wind Turbine

Consider a wind turbine with blades of length, r (area A), the wind speed is v and the air density is ρ.  Assuming that the air speed is reduced to zero by the blades.

 Kinetic energy of the wind, K.E =

Kinetic energy per unit volume

K.E per volume =÷ volume =

 The blades sweeps out an area A in one turn, so the volume of air passing in one second is Av.

Kinetic energy per second

= K.E per unit volume x volume per second

   K.E per second = =                     

The available wind power is P

Extractable power

The power extracted by the rotating blades is much less than the available wind power. This is because:

 (i)   The velocity of the wind is not reduced to  zero at the blades

(ii)    Losses due to friction at the turbine and alternator

(iii)    Due to losses in both the gear train and generator.


The power actually captured by the wind turbine rotor, PR, is some fraction of the available power, defined by the coefficient of performance, Cp, which is essentially a type of power conversion efficiency:


The extractable power (electrical power output) is given by

Where ns and nb are efficiencies (power output over power input) for the generator and the gearbox.


Variations of power with wind speed

The power curve for a wind turbine shows this net power output as a function of wind speed.

i. Cut in wind speed:  This is the lowest speed at which the wind turbine will start generating power.

Typical cut – in wind speeds are 3 to 5 m/s.

ii. Nominal wind speed:  This is the lowest speed at which the wind turbine reaches its nominal power output.

Above this speed, higher power outputs are possible, but the rotor is controlled to maintain a constant power to limit loads and stresses on the blades.

iii. Cut – out wind speed:  This is the highest wind speed which the turbine will operate at.

Above this speed, the turbine is stopped to prevent damage to the blades.

Advantages of Wind Energy

1.  Wind Energy is an inexhaustible source of energy and is virtually a limitless resource.

2.   Energy is generated without polluting environment

3.   This source of energy has tremendous potential to generate energy on large scale.

4.    Like solar energy and hydropower, wind power taps a natural physical resource,

5.    Windmill generators don’t emit any emissions that can lead to acid rain or greenhouse effect.

6.    Wind Energy can be used directly as mechanical energy

7.    In remote areas, wind turbines can be used as great resource to generate energy

8.    In combination with Solar Energy they can be used to provide reliable as well as steady supply of electricity.

9.    Land around wind turbines can be used for other uses, e.g. Farming.

Disadvantages of Wind Energy

1.    Wind energy requires expensive storage during peak production time.

2.    It is unreliable energy source as winds are uncertain and unpredictable.

3.    There is visual and aesthetic impact on region

4.    Requires large open areas for setting up wind farms.

5.    Noise pollution problem is usually associated with wind mills.

6.   Wind energy can be harnessed only in those areas where wind is strong enough and weather is windy for most parts of the year.

7.   Usually places, where wind power set-up is situated, are away from the places where demand of electricity is there.  Transmission from such places increases cost of electricity.

8.  The average efficiency of wind turbine is very less as compared to fossil fuel power plants.  We might require many wind turbines to produce similar impact.

9.   It can be a threat to wildlife.  Birds do get killed or injured when they fly into turbines.

10. Maintenance cost of wind turbines is high as they have mechanical parts which undergo wear and tear over the time.

NB: Even though there are advantages of wind energy, the limitations make it extremely difficult for it to be harnessed and prove to be a setback


Geothermal energy is the energy from nuclear energy changes deep in the earth, which produces hot dry rock.

Geothermal energy originates from the heat retained within the Earth since the original formation of the planet, from radioactive decay of minerals, and from solar energy absorbed at the surface.

Harnessing Geothermal Energy

Most high temperature geothermal heat is harvested in regions close to tectonic plate boundaries where volcanic activity rises close to the surface of the Earth.  In these areas, ground and groundwater can be found with temperatures higher than the target temperature of the application.

Geothermal energy is extracted by using two methods:

(i)   A heat pump system

(ii)   Hot dry rock conversion

The heat pump system

Hot aquifers are layers of permeable (porous) rock such as sandstone or limestone at a depth of 2 – 3 km which contains hot water at temperatures of 60 – 1000C.

 A shaft is drilled to aquifer and the hot water pumped up it to the surface where it is used for district space and water heating schemes or to generate electricity.  A second shaft may be drilled to return the cool water to the rock.

The hot dry rock conversion

 These are impermeable hot dry rocks found at depth of 5 – 6 km, have temperature of 2000C or more.

Two shafts are drilled and terminate at different levels in the hot rock about 300 m apart.  The rocks near the end are fractured by explosion or by methods to reduce the resistance
  to the flow of cold water which is pumped under very high pressure (300 atm) down the injection shaft and emerges as steam from the top of the shallower shaft.

Uses of geothermal energy

 Geothermal energy can be used for electricity production, for direct use purposes, and for home heating efficiency (through geothermal heat pumps).

Advantages of geothermal energy

1.   Geothermal power plants provide steady and predictable base load power.

2.   New geothermal power plants currently generate electricity at low cost.

3.    Responsibly managed geothermal resources can deliver energy and provide power for decades.

4.    Geothermal power plants are reliable, capable of operating about 98 percent of the time.

5.    Power plants are small, require no fuel purchase and are compatible with agricultural land uses.

6.    Geothermal plants produce a small amount of pollutant emissions compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.

Disadvantages of geothermal energy

1.   Many of the best potential resources are located in remote or rural areas, often of  federal or state lands

2.   Although costs have decreased in recent years, exploration and drilling for power production remain expensive

3.    Using the best geothermal resources for electricity production may require an expansion or upgrade of the transmission system.

       4.   The productivity of geothermal wells may decline over time. As a result, it is crucial that 

      developers manage the geothermal resources efficiently.              


Wave energy is the energy extracted from the ocean surface wave. Energy that comes from the waves in the ocean sounds like a boundless, harmless supply.

 Machinery able to exploit wave power is generally known as a wave energy converter (WEC)

Wave power

Waves in the sea have kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy as the rise and fall.

 Consider a sine wave of wave length λ spread over a width d the amplitude of the wave is a and the time period is T.

 The power in a wave come from the change in potential energy of the water as it rotates on the circuit paths beneath the surface. It can be shown that the power carried forward by a wave is given by:


          Wave Energy Flux

The mean transport rate of the wave energy through a vertical plane of unit width , parallel to a wave crest, is called wave energy flux.

  From above,        

       Harvesting wave energy

There are two type of system:

1.      i. Offshore systems in deep water more than 141 feet deep. The Salter duck method.

(a)  Pumps that use bobbing motion of waves.

(b)  Hoses connected to floats on surface of waves. As float rises and falls , the hose stretches and relaxes, pressurizing the water which then rotates a turbine

2.      ii. Onshore systems are built along shorelines and harvest energy from braking waves.

(a)Oscillating water columns are of concrete or steel and have an opening to the sea below the waterline. It uses the water to pressurize an air column that is drawn through the turbine as waves recede.

(b)A Tapchan is a tapered water system in sea cliffs that forces waves through narrow channels and the water that spills over the walls is fed through a turbine.

(c)A Pendulor device is a rectangular box with a hinged flap over one side that is open to the sea .Waves cause the flap to swing back and forth and this powers a hydraulic pump and generator.


Advantages of Wave energy

1. Renewable: It will never run out.

2. Environment friendly: Creating power from waves creates no harmful byproducts such as gas, waste, and pollution.

3. Abundant and widely available: Another benefit to using this energy is its nearest to places that can use it.

4. Variety of ways to harness: Current gathering method range from installed power plant with hydro turbine to seafaring vessels equipped with massive structures that are laid into the sea to gather the wave energy.  

5. Easily predictable: The biggest advantage of wave power as against most of the other alternative energy source is that it is easily predictable and can be used to calculate the amount that it can produce.

6. Less dependency on foreign oil cost.

7. Non damage to land.

Disadvantages of wave energy

1. Suitable to certain locations: The biggest disadvantage to getting your energy from the wave is location. Only power plants and town near the ocean will benefit direct from it.

2. Effect on marine ecosystem: Large machine have to be put near and in the water gather energy from waves .These machines disturb the seafloor, changes the habitat of near-shore creatures (like crabs and starfish) and create noise that disturb the sea life around them. 

 3. Wavelength: Wave power is highly dependent on wavelength i.e. wave speed, wave length, and wavelength and water density.

4.   Weak performance in Rough Weather:  The performance of wave power drops significantly during rough weather.

5.   Noise and Visual pollution:  Wave energy generators may be unpleasant for some who live close to coastal regions.  They look like large machines working in the middle of the ocean and destroy the beauty of the ocean.  They also generate noise pollution but the noise is often covered by the noise of waves which is much more than that of wave generators.

6.    Difficult to convert wave motion into electricity efficiently.

7.    Difficult to design equipment that can withstand storm damage and saltwater corrosion.

8.   Total cost of electricity is not competitive with other energy sources.

9.    Pollution from hydraulic fluids and oils from electrical components.

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