I was one of the ones who voted to close this question: Could single-line-power-transmission be used for a space elevator's climber as, at the time it was made, the actual question was not very clear and seemed very broad. I did see a way to redeem it and commented as much.

After it was closed the OP revised the question and made it a clear and worthwhile one (in my opinion). However, it is also clear to me that for most EEs the topic might sound like voodoo or perpetual motion. But I can assure you it is not, the principles are well-stablished, well-understood, and in one way or another have been observed at least since the times of Nikola Tesla. That's part of what makes it a good question, as a means to explore this undeserved bias.

I voted to reopen, but the vote got nowhere (the question got edited since then so I cannot vote on it again.)

Could someone tell me (and the OP), what is wrong with the current state of the question?


The linked question does not meet the guidelines if there site or stack exchange. It fails in several ways: it is an opinion question "is it possible" questions automatically make it a matter of opinion.

It's too broad, by asking several questions. Questions should be specific, clear, and answerable. Multiple questions could in most cases be asked separately.

And as far as being on topic this is a gray area, asking a question about space elevators on a site where most people practice circuit design is probably not wise.

The OP has question that they should not have asked per the site guidelines:

you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”


These two questions are opinionated and openended:

Is single-line power delivery physically possible at all? Is single-line power delivery practical with probably available technology?

That alone would invalidate the question, but the OP asked 5 questions, which is in most cases too many because to sufficiently answer all these questions would take more space and several pages.

I would also vote to close this question

Furthermore the topic is not really in line with the site guidelines:

This site is for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts. We ask and answer questions about electrical and electronics engineering topics, which include electronics, physical computing, and those working with microcontrollers, Arduinos and embedded systems. We feel the best Electronics Design questions have a schematic, links to pertinent datasheets or some source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

a specific electronics design problem
the theory and simulation of electromagnetic forces
a communication scheme
the writing of firmware for bare-metal or RTOS applications


IMO the topic is too outside the scope of this site, and is not about electrical design.

A better way to phrase this question would be "I have material X with Y conductivity, would this be a suitable material to be able to deliver 1MW of power 200km?" That is a design question that can be answered.

You have to have 5 votes from different reviewers to open or close a question, so most of the time (not all) an action taken it on a question is correct

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The question now is quite specific: can single wire power transmission achieve the clearly delineated power envelope? 1MW to 37000km. That’s very strictly an EE question. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3 '19 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Two of the questions are not specific, there are five \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Feb 4 '19 at 18:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited to a single question: "Can "single-line" power transmission provide 1MW of power continuously over 35,000 km without adding undue bulk to the line or receiver?". It could be edited in to three or more separate and extremely specific questions that would not have a "Can…" (Re: receiver mass, line losses, line geometry constraints, insulation mass constraints), but this seems like it would be spamming the site and reducing clarity and usefulness. \$\endgroup\$
    – Benjohn
    Feb 5 '19 at 11:11
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, with thanks to the author, I can't agree that "is it possible" questions are clearly and necessarily matters of opinion. Q. "Is it possible to build a perpetual motion generator?" A. "No." In general I feel almost all "is it possible" questions are not questions of opinion. Good answers to them will include a discussion of constraints that may make them impractical within a domain. \$\endgroup\$
    – Benjohn
    Feb 5 '19 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it possible questions automatically make it too broad or a matter of opinion, it is not specific enough and in all cases the question could be re worked to make it more specific and more answerable. The answers that are generated from "is it possible" questions are poor for the standards set by this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Feb 5 '19 at 16:18

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