CoolIP index Most recent edit: Wednesday October 24, 2012
* See legal note below.
Evolution and Theory of Cellular Kites
Kites are often classed between flat kites and boxes, as well as between single and multi-kites. Although highly three-dimensional and/or multi-unit kites are ancient, Hargrave invented the modern box kite in the late 19th century, naming the individual box sails as "cells". We can also define multi-kite architectures such as stacks, trains, arches, and clouds as cellular.
Numerous box kite and kite train variations emerged in the golden age of manlifting and meteorological kiting. The box kite evolved directly into the early biplane. The most visionary box kite R&D was by Grahm Bell, whose "cellular kites", as he dubbed them, fully realized the modern tetrahedral spaceframe of identical units. Unfortunately the otherwise efficient structure was poorly adapted to fly. Bell crowded his wings into small cells and proved that even superior spaceframes do not scale well for flight; no brittle flying structure really does.
Far more successful box-cell kites tended to have fewer
larger cells supporting projecting wings. The French Military and Delta
Conyne kite variants represent a mature simplicity, stability and
performance in the classic cell-kite lineages. Multi-sled and parafoil
kites gave new life to cellular kite design by eliminating need for rigid
sparred structure. Ram-air inflated structure progressively stiffens at
higher speeds, maintaining a quality wing shape with no brittle-failure.
Highly multi-cellular parafoils currently dominate the power kite space.
CoolIP* ~Dave Santos 4Jan2012 AWES5294
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