Ideal Material for a model rigid airship

In summary, the conversation discusses the use of a balsa frame to maintain the structure of a model rigid airship, but the weight and strength are concerning. The idea of using polyurethane for the outer skin and treating it with a chemical to increase rigidity is proposed. Another suggestion involves using a foam mandrel and wrapping it with carbon fiber, then dissolving the mandrel to create a lightweight rigid structure. The use of different materials such as fiberglass or carbon composites is also mentioned. The conversation ends with a mention of using inflated plastic hoses for internal structures in full-scale airships.
  • #1
ANarwhal
59
0
I am building a model rigid airship, and in order to maintain it's structure I used a balsa frame. Unfortunately this weighs a fair bit and can take up to half of the lift generated from the light gas, and it is not particularly strong.

Since I use polyurethane for the outer skin, I am wondering whether it would be possible to inflate the airship to the size I would like it to be, and then treat this material with some kind of chemical to make it hold it's rigidity? I would be open to any kind of method that is similar to this and ends up giving me a lightweight rigid structure. I also know that this may be not possible, but any ideas I would love to hear about.
 
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  • #2
How about making a foam mandrel, and then wrapping carbon fiber into some sort of
crude isotruss shape, then dissolving the mandrel with acetone? The fiber would need to be impregnated with resin, and later covered with any type of nonporous covering, such as used in R/C aircraft. If super light weight is not a concern, perhaps fiberglass or other fibers would work and be cheaper.
 
  • #3
Carbon composite from me as well.

My own variation: you can find tubes and rods, ready to use, from kite or model aeroplane suppliers. Industrial suppliers exist as well. Far better than first learning to use carbon composites.

Full-scale airships also tested internal structures made of inflated plastic hoses. Advantage: they resist a shock, and don't punch the envelope.
 

Related to Ideal Material for a model rigid airship

What are the key characteristics of an ideal material for a model rigid airship?

An ideal material for a model rigid airship should be lightweight, strong, and able to withstand high pressures. It should also be flexible enough to allow for easy shaping and construction.

What types of materials are commonly used for building model rigid airships?

Commonly used materials for building model rigid airships include aluminum, carbon fiber, and various types of plastic. Some models may also incorporate wood or other lightweight materials.

What are the advantages of using aluminum for a model rigid airship?

Aluminum is a lightweight and strong material that is commonly used for building model rigid airships. It is also relatively inexpensive and readily available, making it a popular choice among builders. Additionally, aluminum is resistant to corrosion, making it suitable for use in outdoor environments.

How does the choice of material affect the performance of a model rigid airship?

The choice of material can have a significant impact on the performance of a model rigid airship. A lightweight and strong material will allow the airship to fly higher and faster, while a heavier material may limit its capabilities. The material's flexibility can also affect the airship's ability to withstand changes in air pressure and maintain its shape.

What are some potential challenges or limitations of using certain materials for building a model rigid airship?

One potential challenge of using certain materials, such as carbon fiber, is the cost. These materials can be more expensive and may require specialized tools and techniques for construction. Additionally, some materials may not be as durable or resistant to weather conditions, which could affect the airship's longevity and performance.

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