Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Iowa State engineers design power structures that help keep the lights on

12.05.2010
The metal poles that carry power lines across the country are built to take whatever blows at them. So they're big and round and sturdy - as much as 12 feet in diameter and 100 feet high.

But transmission poles can still fail under the stress of extreme ice and wind. They could also be vulnerable to an infrastructure attack. And when one of them falls, others are pulled down until heavy dead-end structures stop the cascading collapse.

"There are long stretches of these transmission lines across the countryside," said Jon "Matt" Rouse, an Iowa State University assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering. "If you take down one of the poles, you take 10 miles of poles out with it. It's very important to protect these structures."

Rouse has worked with Casey Faber, a graduate student in civil engineering, to design a new kind of pole that not only resists cascading failures, but is cheaper and easier to use.

Rouse and Faber have designed hinged poles that don't need a crane for installation, so they'd be easier to raise. If they're exposed to an extreme load, they could be repaired rather than replaced. They would resist cascading failures so utilities could do away with the expensive dead-end structures. And, they would allow power companies to provide better and more reliable service.

Rouse and Faber said the key was to take a new approach to structural design.

"We're designing a structure based primarily on its deformation ability rather than its strength," Rouse said.

The result is a nominally rectangular pole with a built-in hinge near the base. There are metal plates on either side of the hinge that act as replaceable structural fuses - they stretch and buckle when the pole sustains an extreme load, allowing it to deflect while shielding the rest of the pole from damage. There are also tendon cables running up and down the inside of the pole that resist stretching and work to keep the pole upright. And so when there's a failure, the fuses bend, the hinge pivots, the interior cables tighten and nearby poles are allowed to pick up some of the load.

"If a structure can deform sufficiently, it can allow the rest of the system to use reserve strength from other structures," Rouse said. "It allows the next pole down the line to share the load of ice, wind, a broken line or an attack, rather than forcing one pole to withstand the load on its own."

Rouse and Faber have used support from Iowa State's Electric Power Research Center to successfully test a prototype pole and are working to secure a patent. They also say the utility and power structure industries have expressed interest in their technology.

The time is right for better power structures, Rouse said.

"The country is in the midst of a major shift toward wind power," he said. "We'll be building a lot of transmission lines over the next 20 years. We really need to address these reliability and security issues."

Jon "Matt" Rouse | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor
22.02.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

nachricht Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode
22.02.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>