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Conductive-Tether High-Altitude Solution

Problem- A thick high-current conductor cable set like a normal kiteline to serve a single FEG kite-platform entails too much mass, aerodrag, and negative-lift to effectively reach high altitudes. The cable progressively self-limits by assuming a very shallow flight angle; growing heavier, more resistive, and longer faster than altitude can be gained [McNaughten]. Setting lifter kites along the cable helps, but there is still a down-force tether-angle, and adding many lifter kites comes at a cost. Combined critical polymer structure with metallic conductors is severely thermal-limited and tends to mismatched creep and elastic modulus.

Solution- "Staked out" multi-lines, some non-conducting and some conducting, with multi-kites along them, can cancel out excessive conductive cable mass and drag, while keeping a FEG kite-platform or array centered over its kite field. The critical upwind legs would be just thin polymer, while the the thick conductor cable(s) could run vertically (or from downwind to even develop some positive-lift). Self AoA trimming dihedral wings would be set all along a multi-conductor to completely negate weight all the way to high altitudes. Conductive wire pairs can be separated to eliminate the need for insulation. In one variation, a ladder of dielectric wings can keep conductors spaced, much as utility poles do.

Such winged vertical or forward leaning conductive cables would be a basis for ultrahigh-capacity low-loss trunk-lines to serve high altitude AWE farm formations. The "multi-kite scaling principle" predicts fundamental feasibility, but not economic viability. Multi-lines also add critical redundancy against flyaway. Choosing a horizontally isotropic or anisotropic rig would be a basic design trade.

CoolIP*                      ~Dave Santos                 18Dec2011                       AWES5128

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*Legal Note: CoolIP is hereby defined as a Creative-Commons Unported NonCommercial Share-Alike License, so now we are integrated with the latest standard cooperative IP model, but "CoolIP" remains a nice shorthand.