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Space elevator tether

  1. Oct 5, 2008 #1
    I think there has been floated the idea that the space elevator tether may be a ribbon. I think it will fail if it isn't round. I think it will twist with the wind, it will twist in different directions at different altitudes, the twisting will change it's length dramatically and it will break. I have doubts about this whole idea working anyway but a flat tether seems pretty dumb to me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2008 #2


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    Yes, placing a flat ribbon and a crosswind does tend to have rather disastrous effects. However, when stepping down a load on a flatbed trailer, and truckers usually "twist" the strap. This corkscrew shave tends to make any aerodynamic forces and equally in all directions, canceling one another out.

    In the discussions that you've heard, as this technique been brought up?
  4. Oct 5, 2008 #3
    It should also be noted that round cables, such as those found on suspension bridges, are more easily subjected to vibration and resonance than ribbon like tension members.

    The space elevator concept entirely relies on the development of nano-tube technology. The geometry of the tether is the least of the concerns right now for that concept.
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