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Science Technology

Harnessing the Energy of Galloping Gertie 39

Posted by timothy
from the there-is-a-season-churn-churn-churn dept.
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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Harnessing the Energy of Galloping Gertie

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  • Ubuntu 12.0 (Score:5, Funny)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Friday June 03, 2011 @07:07PM (#36334638) Homepage

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

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

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday June 03, 2011 @07:21PM (#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.

      • by jeepien (848819)

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

        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by sortius_nod (1080919)

          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 eve

          • by Splab (574204)

            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: (Score:2, Informative)

              by thegarbz (1787294)

              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.

              • by MstrFool (127346)

                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.

          • by Unkyjar (1148699)

            This is serious business people!!!

      • by riverat1 (1048260)

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

      • 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.

        • 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?

  • by lul_wat (1623489) on Friday June 03, 2011 @07:10PM (#36334650)
    Didn't someone already design something like this, eg putting a wire across a valley and harnessing the vibration
  • Interesting Concept (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Friday June 03, 2011 @07:10PM (#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'.
    • by Cheerio Boy (82178) on Friday June 03, 2011 @07:13PM (#36334670) Homepage Journal

      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]

    • by mortonda (5175)

      after RTFA

      You must be new here... :)

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

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

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

  • 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.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      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. Bl

  • Power lines (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PortHaven (242123) on Friday June 03, 2011 @10:00PM (#36335390) Homepage

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

    The power lines themselves could trickle charge the grid.

  • 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?

  • 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

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