Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Putting problems with containing hydrogen aside, it seems this would actually work. A structure made with 99.99% hydrogen (0.09 kg/m3) and 0.01% aluminum (2700 kg/m3) by volume would have an average density of 0.36 kg/m3. This is lower than air (1.29 kg/m3) and bit more than twice the density of helium.

if you need to seal it, might as well not use anything in between, right?

Why not remove everything and go for vacuum spheres... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_Lana_de_Terzi#Airshi...

Unfortunately the resulting air pressure difference crushes the structure which is what makes vacuum spheres impractical as well.

Wrapping it with carbon fiber and filling it with Hydrogen seems like a better option.

It depends. This is the first material I have heard of that would allow you to have structural elements lighter than air. Just an empty envelope is not very rigid.

The most stable airship would be with a floating foam. Even if some part of it is damaged - the rest will float.

A foam structure could yield lower release speed in case of puncture, and possibly prevent explosive fire propagation in hydrogen, thus allowing its safe use in airships (modern "cold air" airships use the rarer and more expensive helium instead)

Yes. The only reason I can think of that you would do this is to build some kind of hybrid airship that generated some lift from wings to increase MTOW (lifting capacity) but still has all the energy efficiency of low speed and therefore low drag.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact