Automatic measurement and characterization of the dynamic properties of tethered membrane wings

Jan Hummel, Dietmar Göhlich, Roland Schmehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


We have developed a tow test setup for the reproducible measurement of the dynamic properties of different types of tethered membrane wings. The test procedure is based on repeatable automated maneuvers with the entire kite system under realistic conditions. By measuring line forces and line angles, we determine the aerodynamic coefficients and lift-to-drag ratio as functions of the length ratio between power and steering lines. This nondimensional parameter characterizes the angle of attack of the wing and is varied automatically by the control unit on the towed test bench. During each towing run, several test cycles are executed such that mean values can be determined and errors can be minimized. We can conclude from this study that an objective measurement of specific dynamic properties of highly flexible membrane wings is feasible. The presented tow test method is suitable for quantitatively assessing and comparing different wing designs. The method represents an essential milestone for the development and characterization of tethered membrane wings as well as for the validation and improvement of simulation models. On the basis of this work, more complex maneuvers and a full degree of automation can be implemented in subsequent work. It can also be used for aerodynamic parameter identification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-55
Number of pages15
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019


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