I don’t know how practical it is, but I can imagine an inflated floating structure in the middle of the image above at sea. It would be protected from large waves. Such a structure could be used for energy production or agriculture.
The few things that stand out to me at first pass are:
Scale: This thing is only 10cm wide. The usable space in the center looks to be only about 4cm across. To scale this to even a small seastead it would have to be around 10 meters in the center and be extension 25 meters across the the whole structure (doing the math in my head so if I am off please let me know). The spokes are fairly tightly packed (especially at the center) so would the space between be passable at that small of a scale or would the minimum usable size have to be that much bigger?
Also related to scale, from reading the article I suspect that this will only manage waves that are as tall or shorter than the spokes. So that would mean to VERY tall spokes needed. This thing would very quickly become a monster.
Ingress/Egress: Wouldn’t this be very difficult to navigate ships/boats in and out of? Especially with the whirlpool like action described in the article (i.e. higher speed water flow the closer to the center you go). Also as mentioned the smaller the unit the tighter the space between the spokes.
Wear-and-tear: I would suspect that with constant high speed and pressure water moving through the center circles would wear down most likely materials relatively quickly.
All that said, I think it has some interesting questions. What if this was built directly around spar on a spar seastead. Even if it was not 100% perfect as making the spar “invisible” if it reduced the impact of waves say 50% would that not be a win? Can these things be smaller but stacked and still get the same effect? Again imagine a spar but instead of having (pulling number out of nothing just for example) one 10 meter giant ring of spokes at the water level it had 10 one meter rings evenly spaced down the length of the spar.
The interesting bigger idea is the idea of using the power of the waves against themselves or like this avoiding them entirely rather than putting up big walls for them to bash against (or some such).
I agree with all of your points. But I have seen no other structure that can act as a breakwater on the open sea – they all assume shallow coastal waters. The scale that it would have to be built is the issue, but could the idea still be applied in some way? I also wonder how much drag it would have due to resistance as the waves flow through. Somehow I feel like there is some answer here, but right now all I see are questions.
– You may get what you want, but will you want what you get?
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