Pros and cons of airships

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Shangorilla, Dec 14, 2007.

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  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know about "better" (a zep can drop you at your local bus station in a fifth the time it takes a very fast ship to get between major ports, across the Atlantic)

    and "safer" I would have to see demonstrated. The German Zepps had never lost a passenger until the Hindenburg - that was new technology (less than a generation of experience) being used in regular passenger transport across a major ocean long before modern weather reporting, etc, in perfect safety.

    The major virtue would be the lack of need for roads or tracks or even large airports (the Empire State Building was designed as a Zeppelin port).

    In a place already heavily invested in roads and such infrastructure, the competitive advantages of balloons are less. In other places, however - -.

    Compared with what, is the question. A thousand miles of freeway with ten bridges and a fleeto of semis ?
     
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  3. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    could a rotor sail help to increase a zeplins payload?
    link
     
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

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    Can we use both hydrogen and helium? Hydrogen balls at the center surrounded by helium ballons....so that the hydrogen does not come in contact with oxygen?
     
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  7. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    if te hydrogen gets out then the helium is sure to follow, something denser that solidifies when it comes in contact with air would be better, no?
     
  8. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Use Helium alone it isn't flamable. Again airships are just stupid to use today

    with helicoptors, planes, ships, trains and trucks as well as barges.
     
  9. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    Well there are such things like cruises and the whole experience probably feels like a 5 star air balloon.Personally I wouldn't mind taking a tour over the amazon then follow the coast line etc. But then again as a means of transportation? No I don't think so. A other usuful apllication might be as unmaned controlable balloons that can take over satelite tasks at a fraction of the costs
     
  10. kmguru Staff Member

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    Stupid, why? For lift, you need energy, for sea you can not go faster (energy limiting). Somewhere I read, for a given weight and long distance, airships will be more nergy efficient.

    Airships require less onboard fuel than a traditional aircraft .


    http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1032/

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  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Now picture that thing in the winter with howling winds exceeding 40 knots

    and a blizzard out. What do you think its going to do? Where is it stored?

    How long will it take with a 30 knot headwind to go 200 miles?
     
  12. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    All this talk of lighter than air technology has got me thinking of the possibility of using hollow carbon fiber fins on ships such as this:

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    With all the air sucked out to form perfect vacuums inside for more buoyancy.
     
  13. kmguru Staff Member

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    Long time. That never prevented sailing ships with mast on for many many years. If people can take advantage of the wind then, and travelled the world... why not now?
     
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Because today we have other modes of transportation, or haven't you read

    my posts? These new and improved modes of transportation are faster,

    carry more people and are safer than airships.
     
  15. kmguru Staff Member

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    Which airship system you are comapring to? There is no modern airship in operation. ???
     
  16. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not refering to airships if you will reread my post. I was saying there are

    better ways to transport people today than with airships.
     
  17. kmguru Staff Member

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    And I am saying that you can not compare something to an imaginary product or system. Did you get it this time?

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  18. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Heres a wacky idea...nuclear airships.

    Some types of pebble reactors already use helium to transfer heat from the uranium to the water boiler.

    It is circulated between the spheres of graphite containing fissionable uranium.

    Sooo...why not use a small reactor to heat the helium up to several hundred degrees?

    Providing far more lift than cold helium...and using perhaps no more than a few kilograms of uranium.
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The German Zepps, designed to fly in a German winter with 1920's technology, operated in winter with howling winds across the Atlantic Ocean on regular passenger runs in perfect safety. Never lost a passenger, millions of miles covered, no modern weather gear or fabrics or satellite reports or radar or anything.

    They made upwards of 80mph with pre-WWII heavy deisel engines driving giant propellers accellerating a steel and iron frame supporting a resin-impregnated canvas body.

    Of course once you've got the hundreds of billions of dollars invested in freeways, tunnels through mountains and under rivers and oceans, land set aside for huge airports and thousands of square miles of parking and so forth, an airship might not add up as a further investment. But across South America, the Indonesian Archipelago, the Siberian permafrost, the Saharan Desert, etc, the economics might be different, for some applications.
     
  20. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Then a problem develops and it crashes into a populated city releasing radioactivity everywhere. Or terrorists take it over and collide it with a structure which again send off radioactivity.
     
  21. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    There is an ideal shape for a given speed of airship, but generally speaking the speed ranges are much less than those of jet-powered aircraft.

    The ellipsoidal shape is very desirable and efficient. The size of today's airships, if we want them to be a competent form of transportation and shipping, should be vastly larger than the zeppelins of the 1930s.

    The main problem is the price of helium. Carcano pointed out that there can be means of trying to inflate the volume further using energy sources such as nuclear. Probably an airship could be half-hot air, half helium, since hot helium is difficult to control due to its diffusion characteristics. Same thing with hydrogen surrounded by helium (kmguru).
     
  22. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    I imagine the lift gas gets very cold at high altitudes, so warming it up to 200 degrees seems a good idea.
     
  23. Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack Registered Senior Member

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    The only mission area where airships are being looked into for military applications is as UAVs for surveillance due to the endurance potential they offer beyond conventional aircraft. It is extremely unlikely that you will ever see them carrying ordnance or personnel.
     
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