Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2023-170
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2023-170
22 Dec 2023
 | 22 Dec 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

Dynamic Analysis of the Tensegrity Structure of a Rotary Airborne Wind Energy Machine

Gonzalo Sanchez-Arriaga, Alvaro Cerrillo-Vacas, Daniel Unterweger, and Christof Beaupoil

Abstract. The dynamic behavior of the tensegrity structure (helix) of a Rotary Wind Energy (RAWE) machine was investigated by combining experimental and numerical techniques. Taking advantage of the slenderness of the helix, a dynamic model for the evolution of its center line and the torsional deformation was developed by using Cosserat theory. The constitutive relations for the axial, bending and torsional stiffness, which are a fundamental component of the model, were obtained experimentally by carrying out laboratory tests. Three scenarios of increasing complexity were then studied with the numerical tool. Firstly, a stationary solution of the model, i.e. with fixed ends and no rotation, was found numerically and used to verify the correct implementation of a numerical code based on finite elements. The stability analysis of this solution, which corresponds to the state of the structure just after deployment but before operation, showed that the natural periods of longitudinal, lateral, and torsional modes of the RAWE structure under consideration are around 0.03 s, 0.2 s and 0.4 s, respectively. Secondly, the dynamic in nominal operation was investigated by keeping fixed both end tips and implementing a controller that adjusts the torque at the ground to reach a target angular velocity of 120 rpm. Key characteristic variables like the tension and the response times of the helix were obtained. Thirdly, the dynamic of the helix when the lower end is fixed and the upper end is driven in a circular motion of frequency f1 was studied experimentally and numerically. The helix's tension in the experiment increased for f1 above certain threshold and the structure collapsed at f1 ≈ 5 Hz. Simulation analysis revealed a resonance of the structure at a frequency higher to the one observed in the experiment (around 13 Hz).

Gonzalo Sanchez-Arriaga, Alvaro Cerrillo-Vacas, Daniel Unterweger, and Christof Beaupoil

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on wes-2023-170', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Jan 2024 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Gonzalo Sanchez-Arriaga, 16 Jan 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on wes-2023-170', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Jan 2024 reply
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Gonzalo Sanchez-Arriaga, 02 Feb 2024 reply
Gonzalo Sanchez-Arriaga, Alvaro Cerrillo-Vacas, Daniel Unterweger, and Christof Beaupoil

Model code and software

LAgrangian Kite SimulAtors (LAKSA) G. Sanchez Arriaga and A. Pastor Rodríguez https://github.com/apastor3/laksa

Gonzalo Sanchez-Arriaga, Alvaro Cerrillo-Vacas, Daniel Unterweger, and Christof Beaupoil

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Short summary
Rotary Airborne Wind Energy (RAWE) machines transform wind energy into electric energy by transmitting the mechanical torque produced on a rotor to a generator on the ground by using its own structure, which is a spinning helix. Having a good understanding of the behaviour of the helix is crucial in the design of RAWE machines. This work presents a theoretical model to simulate the helix’s dynamics and experimental tests to characterize it.
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