Giant Kixelated LoadPath FlipWings (Mothra-FlipWing
Announcing AWE's New
Baby, the Kixelated Loadpath FlipWing, whose parents are Mothra and
KiteLab Ilwaco continues to make and test FlipWings (since 2008), with
small versions working at high TRL. They are very simple and cheap and
seem to offer the highest power-to-weight potential of any WECS principle
known; and thus can scale greatly. It has long been proposed that
FlipWings can ultimately scale to >300m long, far beyond any practical
rigid wing or rotor. The many small experiments so far involved battened
sails of fairly conventional construction (sewn fabric or membrane
Its now seen that Mothra-like construction is also suited to make cheap
giant self-tacking FlipWings. The pattern-language consists of simple rope
loadpaths with "tarp kixels" hanked on, with periodic single-sparred LE
control sections for luff stability. Such FlipWings would hang in arrays
under a Mothra Arch, and be configured to fire and tack in metachrony.
They would be specially specified and rigged to sweep at a higher apparent
wind than the parent arch. The wing fabric would be somewhat heavier, the
sails closer trimmed, with more batten-spars closer-spaced along the
It is crudely estimated that a single 300m FlipWing could rate at ~5MW,
with a ~6,000m2 area (depending on windspeed, with an apparent wind of up
to about 3/1 (like a TSR). The base price of such a wing would be low;
only about 50k USD.
Such monster FlipWings are predicted to self-tack with good regularity,
owing to increasing spring-mass with scaling. They will probably sound
like large crashing surf; or even thunder, in high wind. Current concept
rigs of mixed Arch-FlipWing configuration range from bird-like to
krill-like, but with the biomimetic form flipped backward, to be driven,
rather than driving. Crosslinked FlipWing AWE arrays would be quite close
in spirit to Wayne's "Vertical Blind Affairs".
It will be quite exciting to fly-off such megascale designs against
far-smaller more-complex contenders of comparable capital-cost.
A Note to Rod, who has been wonderfully modeling Mothras of his own
variations. A further refinement is to design them to take on a
wider-shouldered horse-shoe frontal shape to more closely fill the 600mH x
1200mW airspace. The central arch control section makes a sort point, so
the supposed optimal form is like a curly-bracket on its side that closely
fits the projected airspace rectangle.
Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.
All, send notes, links, drawings, papers, videos, plans, safety-critical
findings, and photographs!
- Terms and aspects:
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