What is the largest possible Rotating wheel space station?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

What is the largest possible Rotating wheel space station possible to be constructed with current materials? and what would be the population it would support. also formulas used for calculation.would be useful.
Could constructing cylindrical space elevators support more population,
 

Answers and Replies

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The maximum radius is around double the breaking length. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_strength for some values.
Why? From that wiki article, this measures a material's ability to hold itself up, which is compressive strength. Why would this be relevant? I would think the limiting factor would be tensile strength. When you spin a ring, the ring wants to rip itself apart, not collapse together.
 
  • #4
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Read the wiki again... It includes tensile strength.
What you also have is a measure of 'live load' and 'dead load'. How long and strong can you make tension spokes before they fail under their own 'weight' due centrifugal effects so can carry no rim loads...

Why this way around ? Think cart wheel vs bicycle wheel, and how much less structural material the latter needs...
 
  • #5
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From that wiki article, this measures a material's ability to hold itself up
"...when supported only at the top."

The factor two results from the linear increase of the centrifugal force with the radius (instead of standard gravity). As Wiki also tells you, the breaking length applies to a fixed cross-section. That means that the maximum radius (or payload) can be increased by increasing the cross section of the spokes towards the center. But this is limited for geometrical resons.
 

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