Friday, December 08, 2006

FlyWheel As Space Batteries Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: Hobby Space)

This technology shows promise, however it is still more expensive than regular chemical batteries. If perfected though, these may prove to be more useful than their chemical cousins.

(American Scientist Online) One place that flywheels might eventually find a niche is space. NASA has contemplated using flywheel energy storage for the International Space Station and has funded considerable research in this area (although so far this technology has not been adopted). The impetus was to find a way to hold the electrical energy generated by the station's solar panels, in darkness a good fraction of each orbit, without having to suffer the vagaries of chemical batteries, which tend to wear out after many charge-discharge cycles. In space, flywheels could serve double duty, replacing both the batteries that would otherwise have to be carried and the "reaction wheels" that are often used to adjust attitude by taking up or giving back angular momentum. For such control, one would install several flywheels at different orientations and then move energy among them to obtain the desired angular momentum for the set.

Although the concept is fairly new to me, it seems that FlyWheel batteries may be an alternative battery system for future lunar colonists. FlyWheels may be able to store energy during the "day time" via solar panels, and serve to power up the colonies "at night" when facing away from the sun.

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1 comment:

  1. Flywheels can store a very high energy density for their mass, and using them in double duty as reactionless attitude controls is a huge bonus. We're going to be using flywheels for both these tasks in our Firefly rockets at Xenotech (but much smaller ones than are pictured on your blog).


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