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Harnessing the Energy of Galloping Gertie

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the there-is-a-season-churn-churn-churn dept.

Science 39

FatLittleMonkey writes "You've all seen the footage of Galloping Gertie, the infamous Tacoma Narrows bridge. This is due to a type of turbulence called Wake Galloping, caused by airflow creating lift on the lee-side of cylinders (or cables on suspension bridges.) Now researchers in South Korea have developed a way of harnessing the turbulence to generate electricity. Their device works most efficiently at wind speeds too low for conventional wind turbines."

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Ubuntu 12.0 (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334638)

Anyone else read "Galloping Gertie" and immediately think Ubuntu?

Re:Ubuntu 12.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334668)

Yep!

Let's get that version number correct (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334708)

12.04 or 12.10, but not 12.0

Kuro5hin (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335438)

I saw "Tacoma Narrows" and immediately thought of Kuro5hin.

Re:Ubuntu 12.0 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335666)

Anyone else read "Galloping Gertie" and immediately think Ubuntu?

Actually I thought it was a German hooker.

Re:Ubuntu 12.0 (3, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336066)

Wouldn't that have been a potential name for Ubuntu 7.10? Otherwise, they won't loop around to G again till 2020. :P

Re:Ubuntu 12.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36338122)

I saw Galloping Gertie and thought: Didn't that bridge collapse? How are they going to harness it now?

Catastrophic failure? (0)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334640)

Then when the wind speed gets high enough the device has a catastrophic failure like the Tacoma Narrows bridge?

Re:Catastrophic failure? (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334704)

What makes you think this design would be completely uncontrolled and just let nature have its way rather than say put guide-vanes in critical places to control the reaction to the turbulence? People don't design this stuff without taking such basics into consideration.

Conventional wind turbines do this too, they rotate off axis to the wind and then lock the blades. Heck nearly every type of energy generator be it a steam turbine, natural gas, diesel generator etc have some kind of high input speed / high output power trip.

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1)

jeepien (848819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334836)

I guess there's just no joke so obvious that it can afford to leave off the **CAUTION: JOKE AHEAD*** warning label.

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1, Flamebait)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334992)

Not sure if you understand the definition of joke

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joke [wikipedia.org]

Stupid questions that are answered in the summary aren't what is defined as a joke. There is no twist, no humour, nothing, just a stupid question that's already been answered.

Now researchers in South Korea have developed a way of harnessing the turbulence to generate electricity.

It states quite clearly they are going to harness natural power source, not build a bridge and watch it rock its way down. Not sure about you, but every project I've been on the assumption is that you don't allow for catastrophic failure (pretty sure that's covered in some project management course somewhere).

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335272)

Just because you can't see a bit of tongue in cheek doesn't mean there isn't some. Lots of comedians fail at making people laugh from other than sheer embarrassment.

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335410)

Yeah and I didn't even get a fucking smiley face.

That's the great part about the internet isn't it. Some 80% of human communication happens via visual cues. To you the poster wrote a joke. To me the poster was ignorant of what is possible and the extent designers typically go to with their equipment. To others he raises a very legitimate concern.

Wouldn't know which it is without the smiley face.

Re:Catastrophic failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335542)

This is /. therefore you always assume it's a joke first...jeesh

Re:Catastrophic failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36377116)

I don't see why. To quote Albert Einstein:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

And unfortunately stupid people still manage to make their way to Slashdot. It is not an unreasonable assumption to assume someone is not just asking a stupid question when it clearly isn't funny.

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1)

MstrFool (127346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335638)

I'll give you a smiley :). If it helps, I got a chuckle out of it when I first saw it, and was wondering how any one would think it wasn't humor. Then, I got remembering the gen public out there... Even the brilliant folks can be beaten down into missing humor after being exposed to the average folks out there for too long.

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335402)

This is serious business people!!!

Re:Catastrophic failure? (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335062)

No doubt you are right, it was just a flip remark. I was hoping for first post.

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335418)

You could've left me a smiley face and save me the writing :-)

Re:Catastrophic failure? (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335284)

Not having RTFA, of course I'm just... Anyway, my experience with this phenomenon tells me that when the airspeed gets too high, it'll lock all by itself. Probably useful in a place that usually doesn't get much wind, making it a nice viable alternative for the wind-deprived areas.

RTFA before posting (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335560)

Sorry about that. From the summary, I thought it was a round alternative to the Humdinger thing that was on /. a while back. Its horizontal, and it seems like it might have a wider working airspeed range. It's gotta be light enough to flutter, but I think it might take catastrophic wind to make it self destruct. Still won't need regulation, maybe a trough it could drop into in a hurricane?

Old news? (2)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334650)

Didn't someone already design something like this, eg putting a wire across a valley and harnessing the vibration

And on a lot smaller scale (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335742)

I remember someone who was creating small electrical generators using vibrating Mylar strips and rare earth magnets 8 or 9 years ago.

Interesting Concept (3, Informative)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334654)

after RTFA, I'm heading this one off at the pass; Yes, the concept of generating electricity from this effect has been done before, we all remember the /. article about the generator that looked like a violin bow, which vibrated in the wind and made a magnet move in a coil. FYI, the article mentions this exact device, and its inventor. this however, is a new approach to the process, and IMOH, better suited to remote/poor villages, as it is a more durable device (at least on initial assessment).

its good to see these sorts of innovations and adaptations of initial concepts. It means people are working the problems, and, it appears, finding more than one way to 'skin that cat'.

Re:Interesting Concept (3, Informative)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334670)

after RTFA, I'm heading this one off at the pass; Yes, the concept of generating electricity from this effect has been done before, we all remember the /. article about the generator that looked like a violin bow, which vibrated in the wind and made a magnet move in a coil. FYI, the article mentions this exact device, and its inventor. this however, is a new approach to the process, and IMOH, better suited to remote/poor villages, as it is a more durable device (at least on initial assessment). its good to see these sorts of innovations and adaptations of initial concepts. It means people are working the problems, and, it appears, finding more than one way to 'skin that cat'.

I believe you're referring to the windbelt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMojRXK14jU [youtube.com]

Re:Interesting Concept (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334994)

after RTFA

You must be new here... :)

Re:Interesting Concept (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335338)

Yeah. You'll never get FP that way!

Re:Interesting Concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335094)

You probably mean the Humdinger "Windbelt".

<skeptical>
  The Humdinger website specs state a 6 m/s "cut in" wind speed. I take this to mean that you need at least 6 m/s before the device begins to output any usable electric energy. The thing is, even Chicago - the Windy City - averages significantly less than that at 4.6 m/s over a year, with just 3.7 m/s during the least windy month of August. So, where is there enough wind for these devices to generate power on a regular basis?</skeptical>

By the way, 6 m/s is about 13.4 mph, should you wish to check your city's historical wind speed data:
http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/online/ccd/avgwind.html

Re:Interesting Concept (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335420)

I think this is supposed to be more of a "power remote villages in the mountains" thing than a "power our cities" thing.

done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334690)

you mean this?
http://www.humdingerwind.com/

link fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334740)

Had to copy/paste link into url get here - ohter links ok.

Galloping Gertie (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334996)

"You've all seen the footage of Galloping Gertie, the infamous Tacoma Narrows bridge."

Oh I thought the story was about my ex-gf.

Oh, NewScientist (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335270)

You have some of the most interesting stories. Pity the technology rarely pans out.

Meanwhile (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335358)

Wind turbines can extract energy from the wind at a wide range of speeds, not just when it blows at a particular speed and direction.

Re:Meanwhile (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336486)

Mmm, if you say so.

However, last year, the UK's wind farms produced around 22% of their maximum rated power. You know, the headline figure that's always trotted out for propaganda purposes, ignoring the real question: how much does fossil fuel use decrease as wind farms come online?

During a particularly windy day last week, Europe's largest onshore wind farm at Whitelee outside Glasgow had to feather its turbines and was drawing power from the grid so that Ecomentals could enjoy its visitor centre. Bless 'em.

Power lines (3, Interesting)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335390)

Imagine modifying all future power lines, especially the big towers. To utilize this.

The power lines themselves could trickle charge the grid.

Re:Power lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36336516)

Good Idea in thoery but how would you shut them all off for maintance work????

Question: Is it also a damper? (2)

spambucket235 (1258304) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336776)

Since the proposed device is taking energy out of the wind, is it possible that it could also be used as a damper or stabilizer?

Hypothetically: If the Tacoma Narrows bridge had something like this installed, would the collapse have occurred? Or, would it have, at least, taken enough energy out of the oscillations to allow the bridge to stand longer?

Didn't they get the memo? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336918)

Unfortunately, the bridge called Galloping Gertie (Tacoma Narrows Bridge) totally collapsed on November 7th 1940. Four months after the bridge had opened.

I'm all for harnessing air turbulence to generate electricity (as long as this does not adversely effect climate or weather)

But realistically... we should not build bridges that gallop. I am not in favor of designing more bridges to be like Galloping Gertie, for the sake of generating a little juice.

That's just plain dangerous -- the engineering involved is complicated enough, and the danger great enough, when the structure is designed to be stationary.

Even if a galloping structure can be made safe, I imagine it would not remain safe after a number of years wear and tear.

If you want to generate electricity using the wind --- it's worth building a dedicated structure for that purpose, or sticking to remote areas, rather than adding non-safety/reliability/stability/longevity goals to the design of major transit infrastructure. That way, public safety implications will be more limited.

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