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OptimizinganOriginalFlywheelDesign

WyattFelt,CliftonDudley,WarrenRobison
LeonardodaVincionceproposedaflywheeldesignwithavariablemomentofinertiaby
attachingweightstochains.Theinitialmomentofinertiawaslow,makingiteasytostartthe
flywheel.Asitspedup,however,thecentripetalforcepushedtheweightsoutandmadethe
flywheelresistchangeinspeedandstoremuchmoreenergy.Weincludeapictureofthe
designhere.

WeproposeaslightvariationofdaVincisdesign,replacingthechainswithsprings.This
increasestheenergythatcanbestoredinaflywheelassomeoftheenergygoesintostretching
thesprings.Wewilltrytomaximizetheadditionalenergyperunitmassthatcanbeobtained
fromthisdesign.Somesimplifyingassumptionsthatwemakeare:

Theweightsmoveonlyinaradialdirection(i.e.weentirelyignoregravityanditseffect
onthetravelpathoftheweights).
Weassumealloftheweightsmoveinandoutatthesamerate.
Weassumethereissomethingtopreventtheweightsfromextendingpastthe
maximumradiusallowed.
Weignoretheenergystoredbyanythingbuttheweightsandthesprings.
Tosimplifycomputation,weassumetheweightsarecubeshaped.

Themaximumamountofenergythatcanbestoredinthisdesignis:
1
2

where equalsthenumberofweights(andsprings), isthespringstiffness, equalsthe


massofeachweight, equalsthemaximumangularvelocity, equalsthedistanceofthe
,thedistancethespringsarestretched.Wewill
weightstotheaxisofrotation,and

comparethisdesigntoanormalflywheelwiththeweightsattachedat ,theinitialradius.
Thusourobjectivefunctionisofthefollowingform:

1
2

.01

The.01inthedenominatorisessentiallyapenaltyfunctionrepresentingtheaddedweightof
thesprings.Itmayappearfromourobjectivefunctionthattheenergyratiodoesnotdepend
onn.However,thesizeandnumberofweightsdirectlyaffecttheinitialradius,astheywould
overlapatasmallerradius(aphysicalimpossibility).Thesmallestdistancefromthecenterof
rotationthattheweightscanbeatisdefinedbytheinnerapothemofannsidedpolygon.We
referyoutoWikipediaforthetheoryoftheapothem,butgivetheequationhere:
1
tan
2

2
2

Inthisequation,sreferstothesidelengthofthepolygon,whichisthesidelengthofthe
weights.Likewise,weshouldmentionherethatsincetheequationsforenergyarecomputed
fromthecenterofmassoftheweights,theinitialradiusisequaltotheapothemplusofthe
lengthoftheweights.Likewise,thefinalradiusisequaltotheouterapothemminusofthe
lengthoftheweights.Theouterapothemequals
cos

maximumradius

Parameters
Density:Wewillassumetheweightsaremadeoflead(11430kg/m3)
MaximumRadius:Themaximumradiuscannotexceed.5meters.
MaximumAngularVelocity:Theflywheelspinsat3600rpm.

Variables
DimensionsofWeight:theweightsarecubes,andthesidelengthmustexceed5mm.
NumberofWeightsandSprings:theremustbeatleast1.
SpringConstant:Mustbepositiveandcannotexceed500N/m.

Constraints
Forces:Thecentripetalforcemustexceedthespringforceovertheentirepathofmotion.
(Hint:sincebothforcesarelinearinnatureandthecentripetalforceexceedsthespringforceat
theinitialradius,itisonlynecessarytoenforcethisconstraintatthefinalradius).
PathofMotion:Theweightsmusttravelapositivedistance.
PhysicalConstraints:Theapothemsandlengthoftheweightmustbepositiveyetlessthanthe
maximumradius.Noweightscanoverlap.