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Power Line Shaker

Mechanical ice removal.
  [vote for,

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 position.

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.

MechE, Feb 14 2014

Pipe de-icer http://www.truevalu.../15/c/2107/2108.uts
[JesusHChrist, Feb 14 2014]

More easily said than done http://dub.thayer.d...apers/iam9-5-49.pdf
[JesusHChrist, Feb 14 2014]

Power line ice-shedder http://www.google.com/patents/US6660934
"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... Gondola_20with_20the_20Wind
[normzone, Feb 14 2014]

vibrating_20de-icer_20for_20power_20lines [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)?
JesusHChrist, Feb 14 2014

       //Power lines are also known as high-tension lines for a reason.//   

       Um, isn't that referring to the voltage, rather than elastic tension?
Loris, Feb 14 2014

       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.
MechE, Feb 14 2014

       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.
normzone, Feb 14 2014

       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.
Alterother, Feb 14 2014

       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 horribly so.
MechE, Feb 14 2014

       //Power Line Shaker// [Marked for Euphemism]
swimswim, Feb 14 2014

       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.
AusCan531, Feb 16 2014

       Ultrasonics ?   

       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 accumulated ice.
8th of 7, Feb 16 2014


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