CoolIP index                                                          Most recent edit: Wednesday October 24, 2012

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Hi-Fi Biomimetic Kite Farm Model (Shark Gills)

What will a megascale kite or kite farm of the future look like? Many concepts call for a sprawling pattern of single line AWES, resembling thin sparse hair, but a quick review of shark-gill images reveals a more attractive model for a compact kite farm able to utilize airspace and land footprint up to 100X the sparse models [KiteLab 2011].

For over 400 million years, shark-gills have embodied a highly optimal geometry to process flow in order to catalyze blood oxidation (and feed). The gill slit structure is a set of staggered compliant span-loaded wings. Staggering is far better than stacking, as staggered wings condition the flow between wings, acting as detached eddy flaps. Stacked wings interfere with each other, the high pressure under one wing canceling the low pressure over the one below, so kite stacks require enough spacing for the staggered condition to dominate.

In the case of kite farms, we know that scaling laws impose severe limits on individual WEC units, that many units must be aggregated into dense non-interfering arrays that are ideally flown as one control process. Shark gills provide a clear model for how to arrange such a fractally recursive fluidic structure. The primary cartilaginous gill wing structure is even called a Gill Arch, just as this sort of crossflow wing is called a Kite Arch, anchored crosswind. The fine harvesting structures are called Gill Lamellae and correspond to Kite Flares as WingMills, or even strings of RATs.

Sharks have two general modes of respiration; ram-flow by moving forward, and pumping flow by gulping. Both are interesting AWES models, pure ram in faster flow, and a galloping oscillation in slower flow. Primitive sharks mostly had six Gill-Arches; modern sharks have five, and the bony fishes a one-slit structure. Sharks remain the largest of fishes, so the "divide-and-conquer" scaling principle is suggested, that more Gill Arches serve for larger and/or more primitive designs.

KiteLab Ilwaco intends soon to build and test multi-arch TarpKite structures according to the Shark Gill model.

CoolIP*                      ~Dave Santos                 18Feb2012                     AWES5652

Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.       
All, send notes, drawings, and photographs!

Terms and aspects:   

  • kite-energy farm, kite farm, wind-energy farm, WEC farm,,   Harvest the kinetic energy of the wind at the farm!

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