Science: Weather
power line whipper   (0)  [vote for, against]
using waves to clear power lines of ice

winter has arrived early in some parts of canada, and we just had power knocked out in some communities due to ice buildup on power lines, which causes them to sag and eventually break.

remember when you were a kid and you would whip the end of a long rope back and forth to get a wave action going along the length of said rope? why not apply the same technique to power lines to prevent ice from building up?

an oscillating machine (details t.b.d.) mounted on each tower could induce a wave action in the lines. it wouldn't have to be a huge wave, just enough of a continuous motion to prevent ice forming.

of course, the towers would probably have to be built of solid concrete to withstand the momentum of all that motion.
-- mihali, Nov 15 2004

Interesting thought. I'm not qualified to speak authoritatively on the matter, but I'd guess that some amount of engineering has gone in to ensuring that it is quite difficult to induce oscillations of any significant amplitude in a power line.

How about little scraper-bots that traverse the power lines continuosly knocking off the ice before it gets too heavy. For entertainment value, they could look like those bicycle-riding, balancing-on-a-tight-rope clown toys. And another stray thought: I wonder if there's enough of an EM field around a high voltage line to inductively power a robotic power line traversing gizmo?
-- half, Nov 15 2004

Surprised that resistance in the lines doesn't produce enough heat to keep them ice-free. The wonders of modern, efficient technology.
-- david_scothern, Nov 15 2004

Small semi permeable tubes attached to the top of the cable that weep a de-icing solution?
-- bristolz, Nov 15 2004

Or maybe just something to make the ice different pretty colors as it forms.
-- half, Nov 15 2004

Well now that's just silly.
-- bristolz, Nov 16 2004

random, halfbakery