CUED Publications database

Vibration of a high-altitude tethered balloon with application to climate engineering

Hunt, H and Kuo, K and Costello, H and Shaw, R (2012) Vibration of a high-altitude tethered balloon with application to climate engineering. 19th International Congress on Sound and Vibration 2012, ICSV 2012, 1. pp. 670-688.

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A balloon tethered at an altitude of 20 km could deliver a particulate cloud leading to global cooling. Tethering a balloon at this altitude poses significant problems with respect to vibration and stability, especially in regions of high wind. No-one has ever proposed, yet alone launched, a balloon at an altitude of 20 km tethered to the ground. Owing to wind, the tether needs to be 23 km in length and is to be fixed to a ship at sea or on land in equatorial regions. Whilst the balloon at 20 km is subject to relatively modest wind conditions, at jet stream altitudes (10km) the tether will experience much higher wind loadings, not only because of the high wind speeds of up to 300 km / hr but also because of the high air density. A tether of circular cross section in these high winds will be subject to horizontal and downward drag forces that would bring the aerostat down. For this reason it is advantageous to consider a self-aligning tether of an aerodynamic cross section whereby it is possible to reduce the drag substantially. One disadvantage of a non-circular tether is the possibility of flutter and galloping instabilities. It is reasonably straightforward to model these phenomena for short lengths of aerofoil, but the situation becomes more complex for a 20 km tensioned tether with large deflection and curvature, variable wind speed, variable air density and variable tension. Analysis using models of infinite length are used to establish the stability at a local scale where the tension, aerodynamic and geometric properties are considered constant. Dispersion curve analysis is useful here. But for dynamics on a long-wavelength scale (several km) then a full non-linear analysis is required. This non-linear model can be used to establish the local values of tension appropriate for the dispersion analysis. This keynote presentation will give some insight into these issues.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div C > Applied Mechanics
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2016 18:24
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2017 01:51