How wide can you make an orbital ring?
This question is simple. The orbital ring is a concept in which a ring encircles the earth (or other celestial body) and revolves around it so that the centrifugal force cancels out the gravitational pull. In a nutshell. A geostationary orbit is achieved at an altitude close to 35,786 kilometres (22,236 miles) and directly above the equator. That's a circumference of about 224,850 kilometres (I don't trust my math). The thickness of the cable itself is heavily dependent on the materials being used, but I'd opt for what we use in satellites today.
I like to think of orbital rings as a train of satellites that have been linked together to form a coherent ring. I mean how else would you assemble the thing? So orbital ring modules makes the most sense to me. That means once the rings construction has been finished you could keep adding modules to the ring.
My design has hexagonal solar cells, so that they can be fitted together efficiently and in two dimensions. Essentially, after centuries what used to be a ring has turned into a branching structure. This is very similar to the geometry of snowflakes and the way they grow. Think of it as an orbital swarm coming together to form an orbital ring. Personally I like this structure because it gives a cool flat surface to walk on. That's pretty much about it.
When is too much too much?
Theoretically the orbital swarm could grow forever eventually covering the entire earth. That is if gravity doesn't come into play. My assumption is that the wider you make it the less centrifugal force you get. There should be a limit. As judges of sci-fi what is your take on this? What is the limit?