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December 18th, 2004 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Dec. 18th, 2004

12:53 am - The Case for Steam Airships



The idea of using steam (the vapor phase of H2O, i.e. water) as lift gas for a powered airship has been suggested many times. Cayley (1815) was the first, and further proposals have been made by Erdmann (1909), Papst (1969), and Giraud (1991). These projects appear to have remained merely theoretical, although several were quite detailed. It appears that no full-scale trials, or even experiments, have ever been performed.

An obvious corollary is the use of steam as lift gas for an unpowered free balloon, i.e. an aerostat. The intrepid balloonist Brian Boland made an unsuccessful effort to fly in a balloon filled with steam supplied from a geothermal vent in Iceland; I have no documentation on this attempt.

Yet the idea of using steam as LTA lift gas has strong attractions.

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