Telescopic Tower for Windmill

I'm trying to design a windmill tower that extends up and down (like a telescope). The function would be to extend it upwards when wind speed is low(to reach higher wind speeds and less obstructions) and down when wind speed is high(to reach reduced wind speeds) as a method of increasing efficiency of turbines. Questions: Is this feasable? Can it be a mobile unit for say a camper or such? What kind of materials could be used for this type of design if weight is a critical factor?

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Sure its feasible! You can make your tower out of cast iron, mild steel, high strength steel, aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, magnesium alloy, beryllium copper alloy, nickel-copper alloy, steel reinforced concrete, pre-stressed concrete, carbon-fiber/epoxy composite, fiberglass/polyester-resin composite, fiberglass/carbon-fiber/epoxy composite, plain wood, wood/epoxy composite, wood/fiberglass/epoxy composite, wood/fiberglass/carbon-fiber/epoxy, composite, or steel reinforced wood/fiberglass/carbon-fiber/epoxy. The list is endless.

There are many metal alloys and composite materials that you could make your telescoping tower out of. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself are: How tall is the tower going to be? What forces will be acting on the tower? Will the tower be exposed to a corrosive environment (salt water spray, air pollution, etc.)? How thin do you want the tower to be? What is the maximum weight that the tower can be? What materials are readily available? Do you have the skills and equipment to fabricate this tower in your own shop, or will you have to contract it out to another shop?

And the most important question of all is: How much MONEY am I willing to spend on this project?

Building a telescoping wind generator tower is easy. Building a telescoping wind generator tower that is strong, durable, and works reliably at a cost that your customers can afford is difficult.

Good Luck,

paul d oosterhout from SAIC

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Paul O

Sure...TV news vans use the same kind of device for raising their satellite dish up to clear lines-of-sight.

The question is, why would you want to lower it to reduce wind speeds? I would have though the efficiency of the windmill got better as the wind speed went up.

Well, I know it will fit on a van, so I'd say, "probably."

Composite would probably be lightest, but not cheap. Aluminum alloy or magnesium alloy are probably your most likely strength/weigth/cost options.

How big a windmill are we talking about?


Reply to
Tom Sanderson

Why not figure out how to get a high efficiency windmill that is a vertical turbine, rather than the propeller type?

Also, to extend a tower up and down seems insane because your structure will have to be incredibly strong to hole up to the wind loading and the load due to the propeller.

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I'm thinking more along the lines of a mobile unit such as a camper or boat

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IF you are going small scale, you could use some fiberglass poles, and connect things up that way.

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Check out this website:

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They are selling vertical windmills and the folks might have some ideas for you! wrote:

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