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Monday, November 19, 2012

Buoyancy, Solar Arrays, and Oil Pipelines.

If you could do whatever you wanted.  (Continued)
Yesterday’s post was about building enormous vacuum tank airships.  I first wanted to explain a little bit more about why I want to use tanks with all the air pumped out of them instead of balloon style cells which would contain Hydrogen or Helium.  The Germans put Hydrogen in the old Zeppelins during the era of the Great Airships, because they didn't have Helium.  Hydrogen is highly combustible as anyone who remembers the Hindenburg accident will tell you.
Using Helium has its draw backs also.  After you spend the money to build this massive ship you have to fill the cells with millions of cubic feet of helium (which is not free) before the ship becomes buoyant, our lighter than air.  What makes the ship lighter than air is replacing the millions of cubic feet of air (which has a weight) with something lighter than air.  When you have replaced enough of the weight to even overcome the weight of the ship which weighs tons itself, the ship becomes lighter than air or what we call buoyant.
What does nothing weigh?
You know the answer.  It’s all right, shout it out!  Nothing!
A vacuum is exactly that, nothing.  We can’t achieve an absolute vacuum but with today’s technology we can easily, with the right pumps, get it to better than 95% vacuum.  You surpass the buoyancy of Helium around 90-92% vacuum and you surpass Hydrogen around 93-94% vacuum.  This system saves the expense of purchasing, transporting and using a gas to make the ship float.
When you use a gas it would naturally expand the higher the ship goes as the outside pressure against the cells becomes less as the level of air outside the ship decreases.  This puts a limit to how high the ship could fly before the cells burst or you have to pump some of the gas into high pressure tanks to prevent them from exploding.  By using tanks with a vacuum in them they will be at maximum pressure on the tanks at sea level.  The higher they go the less the pressure trying to crush them.  Look at it as a really large submarine designed to sail through the air instead of water.
When you hold a ball full of air at the bottom of a swimming pool and then let it go what happens?
It shoots upward to the surface of the water, past the surface into the air until the buoyancy becomes zero and gravity grabs a hold of it and drags it back to the water where it will float.
What do you think would happen if you achieved a 96% to 97% vacuum in the tanks of the ships I have been describing while the ship was locked to the ground and suddenly released the clamps holding the ship?  It would shoot upward.
How far?
It would remain buoyant until the pressure outside equaled the pressure inside the tanks which wouldn't be until the ship was surrounded by a 96% to 97% vacuum.  With a little bit of help the ship could reach escape velocity and travel into outer space.
If you designed certain ships of this style to handle flying in space, by adding thrusters, pressurized cabins with oxygen for the crew to breathe and a means of re-entering the atmosphere without burning up you would have a space delivery vehicle.
There was an idea that was being worked on in the late 1970’s by some guys interested in solar power before they got dumped in together with the other energy groups in the newly created Department of Energy in 1980 by President Ronald Reagan.  The idea entailed building enormous solar cell arrays in space where weather and such would not affect them and they could collect sunlight and convert it into solar power almost continuously 24/7 and piggy back the power off of a radio signal to a collector that was stationary on the ground.  By putting an object such as this in what is known as a geosynchronous orbit the solar array would stay directly over the same spot all the time.
In late 1979 or 1980 before they were disbanded and fired for threatening the coal and natural gas industry this group was getting ready to go to Congress for funding for their space delivery system to start constructing these solar arrays across the heavens above the United States.  Their plan was tentatively scheduled to be completed by 2015 to provide totally green environmentally free power to the U.S. for pennies per kilowatt.  Their plan also threatened the upstart of the new space delivery system that was currently favored over theirs which was the Space Shuttle, but the Space Shuttle wouldn't have been a cheap and effective means to deliver the parts necessary to construct the Solar Arrays.  It’s now nearing the end of 2012 and Oil and Natural Gas industry are safe, the Space Shuttle has been retired and we are no closer to cheap environmentally clean electricity.
I also remember reading that one of the original plans for transporting oil from our Alaska oil refineries into the states was a fleet of airships which would be able to deliver the oil to almost anywhere it would be needed or could be handled.  It would have prevented the oil pipeline from temporarily being shut down because the pipe line route below and tanks the pipeline feeds into are full.  The cost of the fleet of blimps would have been cheaper to build than the pipeline was to construct.  The companies and jobs created by the massive undertaking of building large fleets of airships for various purposes could be as enormous as the airships would be themselves.
I hope to see mammoth airships sailing through the skies again during my lifetime.
If you could do anything you wanted to do what would it be?
What things do you enjoy doing?
What things do you do naturally even if nobody is watching or willing to pay you to do it?
What do you love to do?
What is the biggest craziest dream you can imagine and see yourself doing?
Please feel free to share your ideas, dreams, and thoughts.  There is no right or wrong answers to this game as we are only playing make believe and exercising our imaginations at this point.


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