Modeling and Simulation of Kite Power Systems.
Roland Schmehl, Jeroen Breukels, Joost Schwoll, Stefan de Groot
The flexibility of kites and tethers is a challenge for modeling and simulation
of kite power systems. Especially for the lightweight membrane structure of an inflatable kite, structural dynamics and exterior aerodynamics are tightly coupled processes which dominate the flight dynamic characteristics and by that also the power generation of the system. For longer tethers, deformation can be substantial, especially in low-load cases, also affecting the achievable power output.
The presentation summarizes various modeling approaches pursued by the Kite Power research group. For flight trajectory optimization and automatic flight control, point mass or rigid body models are typically used for kite and tether. More accurate, but also more expensive, is a multibody system model using several hundred rigid bodies connected by joints to represent the deformable tube structure and a spring damper network to represent the canopy. Also an analysis tool, a Finite Element method, normally applied to airbag deployment simulations, is used to simulate the structural dynamics of kite under load.