h a l f b a k e r y
Naturally, seismology provides the answer.
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Ice build up on power lines is bad. It tends to make them
fall down and go boom. (And yes, I'm aware tree limbs are
probably responsible for more of the problem, but I don't
have a solution for that.)
So my thought is to have, at each power line mounting
point, a catch that lets the weight
of the line build up to a
certain point, and then slips, letting the line drop an inch
or two. Also present is a spring that is strong enough to
lift the normally weighted power line back to it's original
The line drop from the catch causes the line to bounce and
flex, knocking off some of the ice and snow. The now
lighter line is light enough that the spring mechanism pulls
the line back up, resetting the catch.
Worst case, the catch fails to work, or fails to knock off
the ice, and you're no worse off than you are now, best
case, fewer power outages.
[JesusHChrist, Feb 14 2014]
More easily said than done
[JesusHChrist, Feb 14 2014]
Power line ice-shedder
"The vibration causes an oscillation of the cable which is sufficient to substantially shed ice that has accumulated thereon." [Spacecoyote, Feb 14 2014]
Here's your solution - already preheated...
[normzone, Feb 14 2014]
[spidermother, Feb 16 2014]
||I don't know anything about electricity, but if it's a power
line, why (besides the current price which would come
down if you mass produced this) can't they just take a little
bit of the power and
run one of these pipe de-cers (link)?
||//Power lines are also known as high-tension lines for a reason.//
||Um, isn't that referring to the voltage, rather than elastic tension?
||I agree it will increase routine maintenance
requirements, but there are advantages to shifting
work from emergency to routine. Whether the
advantage would be enough to offset the increased
requirements would all be down to how reliable
these could be made, and how well the lines would
handle the shaking, and how well they work to
reduce outages during bad weather.
||Figuring that out is left as an exercise for the user.
||And for extra credit, calculate the benefits of hiring the unemployed who are not frightened of heights to ride the lines during inclement weather (link) vs the costs of emergency repairs.
||I'd be concerned with this idea from a standpoint of metal
fatigue. Neither copper nor aluminium are happy in cold
conditions, nor do they deal well with repeated impacts.
||A fair point, but if they can usually stand up to
flexing in the wind, I don't see that this would be a
lot worse. Yes, it's a little more of a shock, but not
||//Power Line Shaker// [Marked for Euphemism]
||You realise that all of these problems are mitigated by placing power lines 'below' the frost line though right?
Just to be sure and all.
||Anyone considered an induction-powered line crawling
robot which scoots along the wires cleaning them? Might
need to equip it with some nimble gymnastics to pass from
one side of the towers to another.
||Aircraft have de-icing boots on critical
surfaces, like wing and
tailplane leading edges. If the outer casing of
the cable is flexible and gas-tight, it
could be inflated and deflated to crack off