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Mega-Scale Kite Aerogel (MSKA) Apps

Dan'l's recent posts about aerogels and atmospheric electricity do indeed point toward interesting AWECS. The two ideas even intersect (see below). We are on to many real sci-fi style trails with these concepts. JoeF has reintroduced, after a lapse of centuries, the vacuum-balloon, in the form of micro-balloons like Bucky Balls as a bulk "levitating" medium (somebody should run the numbers, maybe there is a perfect carbon ball far bigger than C60 able to resist 15 psi). The new elastic (even nickel) super-foams will at least replace pressurized air for Wayne German's blow-molded membrane wings. Mega-Scale Kite Aerogel (MSKA) made from lattice-work of just conventional string and kites is a revolution in itself, a Key to the Sky. Its fundamental apps include:

  • -Wind Momentum passing thru the lattice can be converted into internal waves harvested for power at the surface.
  • -Water Vapor Condensate might be harvested in useful quantities (artificial rain). Existing Fog Harvesting tech is pre-suited to fly as MSKA ( PP mesh).
  • -Electrical Charge could be collected far more efficiently than by any prior aerostructure, but maybe still not good enough to compete with gens

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos                 19Nov2011          AWE4814

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

Terms and aspects:   

  • micro-lattice
  • nano-lattice
  • nano-matrix
  • encased helium
  • caged helium
  • balloon versus caged helium
  • lattice waves
  • fog-harvesting technology
  • PP mesh:   polypropylene mesh  
  • Wayne German's blow-molded membrane wings
  • aerogels versus designer micro and nano matrices, lattices, structures

Related links:


Commentary is welcome:

  • AFAIR, Joe's idea was to encapsulate a light gas, not a vacuum. Aerogel, etc. is interesting, but I don't think there is much need for it in any useful wind. Even ultralight aircraft use medium density foams for structure.

    A kite to harvest water sounds very interesting. There may be a way to gather some electrical potential at the same time.
    ~~Bob Stuart
  • Bob,
    MSKA is a True Aerogel ideally suited for "useful wind".  Humans just have a problem imagining across scaling dimensions, or they would see these things sooner (as i, robot, do). Its like kilometer-scale wavelength radio entails "photons" a kilometer across "exist" (as virtual particles), but folks think of photons as "wee".

    If JoeF's idea was to include all lifting media possible to encapsulate in a nanomatirx, then vacuum counts, If he intended to exclude vacuum, then you are right. A practical vacuum material would probably be a 3D structural aerogel matrix with a graphene cover. Surely nanostructure like C-60 holds vacuum, but can we make variants low enough density to "levitate"?? Engineered Megamaterial is itself is a bold idea, and the AWE Forum idiot-savants are the lucky creators.

    Early aerogels were quite weak, due to weak polymers, compared to using true engineering-grade material. Existing ultralights do use cool foams, but the potential is for far lighter, cheaper, and stronger versions with amazing new properties. We are talking about a next wave of revolutionary performance. Never forget Lord Kelvin's blunder to imagine HTA flight as impossible, even as the Wright's were on it. You will end up increasingly excited as our newly brainstormed ideas sink in. Just don't tell ARPA-E yet (a conspiracy), lets have some fun first,     
    ~~   daveS

    PS:  By "Fog" harvesting of course we mean tapping clouds. Some  3 liters of water a day per square  meter of poly-mesh is a typical rate of capture. The Polynesians pioneered this by sending up kites into clouds with sponges attached (natural aerogel) and squeezing out the water, a working method at sea or in case of desert island.

    PPS: Roddy can pick up his Free Sample of MSKA at the World Kite Museum during business hours;  just ask for the free kite line and kite materials that come with admission. Some assembly is required, but there is probably some olde net-maker on Lewis who will knot a futuristic 3D MSKA matrix for a pint or two.
  • Dec. 8, 2012:    This microscale graphene aerogel layer shown in the lab is another scale-structure analogy to add to that of prepared-specimen collagen and cellulose lattices. The use of ice crystals recalls the Ice-9 frozen sky joke. We have defined Megascale in AWE as km scale, so our hand assembled lattices are far larger and much less dense (sparser) than our micro models.

    At the moment, Mega-Scale Kite Aerogel is not limited by lack of graphene "unobtainium" *, or even the (wonderful) kitelines and fabrics available. Cheap mass-market ropes and tarps actually give far better power-to-capital-cost performance at present. Pioneering MSKA engineering-science at the km scale is best done on a "shoestring" budget. A child can make and fly conceptually advanced megascale structure in the sky.

    The urgent limitations to MSKA development are a lack of grand imagination and mastery of the simple means (flying strings, rags, and bits of stick).

    * Dave Culp's usage for innovation stalled by unobtainable supply.                              ~DaveS