Public Lab Research note

Kite based airflow monitoring

by ecta64 | April 05, 2017 19:38 05 Apr 19:38 | #14092 | #14092

This is a very simple technique that can be used to aid in wind turbine siting while also being useful for such tasks as dust/pollution monitoring. Visualizing the effects of buildings or structures on the airflow is another possible use. Any kite can be used for this as long as their stability is good and they can handle the added drag. In the image above I used the TALA kite anemometer kite.

A 10 meter length of light surveyors tape (this length is critical as it has enough weight to be within 1-2 degrees of horizontal at speeds above 2 meters per second and better illustrates streamer behavior than shorter ones) attached at 10 meter intervals on the kite line much like line laundry is all that is required.

One can add small loops to the line at the intervals before a flight and simply attach a swivel with the streamer tied onto it as the loops reel out. A single streamer can be used while one varies the altitude of the kite but obviously this can not be used to visualize an entire column of air at once (but still can be useful).

For home wind turbine siting look for curling or rapid changes in vector. A smooth streamer that is consistent in vector and behavior indicates a possible good height for the turbine.

For dust or general airflow monitoring a sighting compass can be used to monitor each streamer and the kite and gain insight into how the air would move particles at those heights. A camera can be useful to document this but use high megapixel settings as capturing a entire line in one frame (needed for instantaneous results of all streamers unless multiple cameras are used) will necessitate being able to zoom in on the pixels.

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