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Analysis: How Wind Affects Anchor Load in Longlines
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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jul 10, 2013
This is an article I wrote for a slacklining website. I am copying it over here in case any slackliners are interested.

Comprehension of this article requires knowledge of what longline wind dampeners are. For background information on wind dampeners reference the following article: balancecommunity.com/Slack-Sci...

Introduction

Anyone who has longlined in high winds knows that the wind can cause subject serious vibrations and sinusoidal oscillations to the line, especially without wind dampeners. Although the oscillations generated without wind dampeners can appear to wreak devastating loads on a longline, very little research exists about how much force the wind can subject.



Methods

The method in which I recorded the oscillation phenomenon is quite simple. I rigged two 250 longlines, one Green Magic polyester and one Kevlar aramid, with a dyno scanning at 300 Hz. in line with the anchor, and I recorded the load readings for a 5-minute sample, both with and without wind dampeners. I then combed the data and I will show you the highest recorded load for each sample pool. While the samples were not subjected to a whole gale, NOAA reported winds in the area averaging 14 MPH with 33 MPH gusts, so the lines were subjected to continuous, moderately strong wind for the entire duration of the test. I recorded three samples: one high-tension Kevlar, one moderate-tension Kevlar and one high-tension Green Magic, all at 250. I did not stand on the line during any period in the five-minute test window.

The following 40-second video will display specifically what I was recording.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4-EPYoY_0E


Observations





Kevlar (high tension):
1) Pre-test resting tension: Approximately 1890 lbf.
2) Peak load without dampeners: 2039 lbf. (+149 lbf)
3) Load cycles per second (mean): 2.75

Kevlar (moderate tension):
1) Pre-test resting tension: Approximately 1217 lbf.
2) Peak load without dampeners: 1407 lbf. (+190 lbf)
3) Load cycles per second (mean): 2.75

Green Magic:
1) Pre-test resting tension: Approximately 1860 lbf.
2) Peak load without dampeners: 1942 lbf. (+82 lbf)
3) Load cycles per second (mean): 13
4) Peak-to-peak load (maximum): 115 lbf

Kevlar (high tension) with wind dampeners:
1) Pre-test resting tension: Approximately 1890 lbf.
2) Peak load without dampeners: 1915 lbf. (+25 lbf)

Conclusions

Although it may appear that the wind was subjecting the line to extreme loads, the load increase caused by the wind was actually quite small. In fact, standing in the middle of the line subjected the line to more force than the wind did. This can be explained easily by examining the amount of sag the wind subjects to the line. While the wind was causing peak-to-peak oscillations of over 4, the downward sag subject to the line was only around 2. When I stood on the line I subjected nearly double that. The following graph shows how the load fluctuations are relatively small compared to known high-loading events such as a highline fall.



However, there are some very legitimate concerns regarding the vibration and cyclic loading presented to the pulley system and anchor components when the line is allowed to flop in the wind. The extreme vibration, as seen in the video, caused every screwgate steel carabiner in the system to unlock within a matter of seconds. In addition, if allowed to propagate and continue for an extended period, the vibration will cause severe wear to any aluminum-to-steel contact point, such as the contact point between a shackle and aluminum rigging plate. Last, the alarmingly high number of cyclic loads (13 per second for Green Magic), brings into question the long-term fatigue suitability of the tensioning system, especially aluminum components.

According to Hairer (2012), at least one type of large AL-7075 aluminum carabiner will fail at 240,000 cycles if subjected to 225 lbf load cycles with a mean tension of 1,350 lbf. With an increase to 1,800 lbf of tension and a load-cycle range of 450 lbf, a large carabiner can fail with less than 35,000 cycles. At a rate of 13 cycle per second, the anchor would see 35,000 cycles in just under 45 minutes.

Considering the cyclic-loading nature of a longline in the wind, it would be most advantageous to use wind dampeners under all conditions, and if a longliner were to leave a line up for an extended period, she or he would be well off to softpoint the system and remove any aluminum component, especially aluminum carabiners.

Reference and Further Reading

Hairer, F. (2012). Aluminum climbing carabiner under constant load . n.d., n.d.: n.d..

Analysis of fatigue failure in d-shaped carabiners. (2002). Retrieved from eb.mit.edu/sp255/www/reference...

Reference articles available upon request

FLAG
By Tug
Jul 10, 2013
I'm not reading that. Just put a rope under it. No oscillation. End of story. Fucking nerds.

FLAG
By Jon H
From Boulder
Jul 11, 2013
At the matching crux
Tug wrote:
I'm not reading that. Just put a rope under it. No oscillation. End of story. Fucking nerds.


You must be real popular at parties.

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By Jon H
From Boulder
Jul 11, 2013
At the matching crux
I thought it was very interesting. I had no idea 20-30mph winds could get a longline to oscillate like that, and even moreso, that under the right conditions, it could lead to aluminum failure in 45 minutes. I don't do much in the way of slacklining, but it's a good mental exercise to think about how it relates to climbing, even if only academically. Thanks for posting!

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By Tug
Jul 11, 2013
Jon H wrote:
You must be real popular at parties.



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Fuck dude just go slacklining. Or nerd out if you want. It ain't rocket science. Like I said (and I would only worry about it for highlines) put a rope under it and it won't be a problem. No oscillation. Or read a bunch of crap from someone who thinks too much. Keep it simple stupid. :-)

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By David Baird
Jul 11, 2013
tug, have you ever longlined? from the bulk of your text, it would appear that you have not. unless you consider putting your Gibbon classic out to 15m long lining. long lining starts at 100m, it is simply not practical to "just put a rope under it", for reasons of weight, cost and time.

why are you so negative when someone conducts a high quality test for the slacklining community and creates some good information?

it is attitude's like yours which is going to get some one killed by gear breaking, because they failed to appreciate to complexity of the gear!

Sayar produces lots of high quality articles for the slacklining community and would be indeed popular at a longline party!

FLAG
By slim
Administrator
Jul 11, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i'm not familiar with slacklinging/longlinging, but i found this artical pretty interesting, particularly the effect of the dampening system on the Kevlar line. also, the difference in resonant frequencies between the kevlar and green magic. i would have guessed that the kevlar would be lighter and stiffer, but it is displaying lower frequency... interesting.

FLAG
By Tom Mulholland
From #1 Cheese Producing State!
Jul 11, 2013
Whiskey-a-Go-Go
Really cool work! Having no experience long lining, I'm curious, how do those 1950 lbs (8.7 kN) compare to a normal slackline, say 30 feet? I suppose I would have expected the tension to be necessarily much higher in a 250' line to be able to comfortably walk on it.

Also, did you happen to look up the fatigue limit in those conditions for steel? I'd do it, but that book is a few countries away. If not, perhaps we can find some online tables.

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By barnaclebob
Jul 11, 2013
Tug wrote:
Fuck dude just go slacklining. Or nerd out if you want. It ain't rocket science. Like I said (and I would only worry about it for highlines) put a rope under it and it won't be a problem. No oscillation. Or read a bunch of crap from someone who thinks too much. Keep it simple stupid. :-)




Fucking knuckle draggers.

FLAG
By Devin Copeland
From H-Town
Jul 11, 2013
So this article is great, however, does not answer the question everyone else must know:


Who is your buddy that has a better resume than the pro you mentioned? Also, what happened to your belay fail thread?

And further, who WAS the man on the grassy knoll, MAN?

FLAG
By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Jul 11, 2013
CoR
Galloping Gurdy


Wind issues aren't just for slack lines.

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Jul 11, 2013
modern man
David Baird wrote:
Sayar produces lots of high quality articles for the slacklining community and would be indeed popular at a longline party!


oooh a longline party! sounds like a RAGER!!!----> "bro, did you walk it yet? yeah bro, it was awesome. cool man. I'm going to make it next time man. I made it bro. sweet! dude, slacklining is so 2000, I dont go to those parties, only longline parties for me mang"

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Jul 11, 2013
modern man
rging wrote:
Wind issues aren't just for slack lines.


cool stuff, I want to say the Eiffel Tower sways a few feet in the wind. I bet 20Kn knows.

FLAG
By Tom Mulholland
From #1 Cheese Producing State!
Jul 11, 2013
Whiskey-a-Go-Go
TR purist wrote:
cool stuff, I want to say the Eiffel Tower sways a few feet in the wind. I bet 20Kn knows.


The St. Louis Gateway Arch sure does. When I was there as a kid, I think I remember them saying that it moves as much as 20 ft on windy days.

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Jul 11, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
Well done 20kN. Thorough and scientific.

FLAG
By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jul 11, 2013
Tom Mulholland wrote:
The St. Louis Gateway Arch sure does. When I was there as a kid, I think I remember them saying that it moves as much as 20 ft on windy days.

The world's tallest skyscrapers apparently move several feet in the wind. Maybe I should attach one of these to the line:


FLAG
 
By slim
Administrator
Jul 12, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
that would be pretty interesting, not only in terms of potential total amplitude, but also in terms of the interaction of the fundamental frequencies of the 3 components. it would probably make me car sick.

FLAG


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