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Hard shell balloon

Posted by: ralpher05 - Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:58 pm
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Hard shell balloon 
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Post Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:58 pm
Has anyone heard of this?

Have a hardshell sphere and take out all the air so there exists a vacuum. The shell should be strong enough to keep the shape of the sphere and the sphere should be big enough so that it will act as a balloon and reach to the upper atmosphere.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:15 am
Yes, I've heard of that. The idea is quite old, going back several centuries. As my memory serves me (keep in mind, my memory is a whispy thing), an old woodcut depicts workers draining mercury from a copper sphere, to achieve a vacuum inside. Unfortunately, any existing substance that is strong enough to resist being crushed by air pressure would be too heavy to float in the air.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:35 am
On some site I once saw a proposal for some sort of "tensile spheres" where you have a bunch of inflated balloon-spheres filling up an innertube shape, like peas in a pod. Then you stack a bunch of such innertubes of differing radii, so that they form a hollow spherical shell, which you then wrap another skin around. Apparently, you can vacuum out all the air from everything but the original balloon-spheres, and you could have an air-supported hollow shell.

I've read that newer research into vacuum-lift or vacuum-buoyancy could make use of foam nacelle structures with hollow cores.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:31 pm
Was it halfbakery, by any chance?

A vaccuum blimp designed for the upper atmosphere wouldn't have to be as heavy, as the pressure differential would be lower.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:16 pm
Thanks for the info guys.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:21 pm
Any way I thought if you tacked it like a 3D bridge, then some interesting structures might come out of it.

I imagine a structure divided into cells like that of a soccer ball, and the cells being mad up of frames and some kind of cloth. And the cloth being supported in the middle of the cells by suspension bridge techniques. The structure would be light, but would it be light enough? And the materials would have to be super light and super strong.

I think it makes for an interesting engineering problem.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:45 am
Terraformer wrote:
Was it halfbakery, by any chance?

A vaccuum blimp designed for the upper atmosphere wouldn't have to be as heavy, as the pressure differential would be lower.


yeah, that's right - I'd read it on half-bakery


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:15 am
Quote:
I imagine a structure divided into cells like that of a soccer ball, and the cells being mad up of frames and some kind of cloth. And the cloth being supported in the middle of the cells by suspension bridge techniques. The structure would be light, but would it be light enough? And the materials would have to be super light and super strong.

Yep, posted that on Halfbakery.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:58 pm
Pooua wrote:
Yes, I've heard of that. The idea is quite old, going back several centuries. As my memory serves me (keep in mind, my memory is a whispy thing), an old woodcut depicts workers draining mercury from a copper sphere, to achieve a vacuum inside. Unfortunately, any existing substance that is strong enough to resist being crushed by air pressure would be too heavy to float in the air.


What about a carbon nanotubes?

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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:24 am
Nanotubes are certainly marvelous, but think about graphene.

Graphene is uniquely impervious to gas molecules. It has already been used to create the world's first single molecule balloon, having a skin thickness of only a single atom.

That kind of material could be used to make spacesuits, spaceships, domes, etc that would be totally airtight, because you could use billions of molecular layers of the stuff to keep things airtight. And of course it's obviously of intense interest for electronics.

Nanotubes are great, but in my opinion, graphene is the real story that everyone should first be looking at. If any material could be used to make a hard-shell balloon, it would be graphene. That's one material that will change the world in many ways.

www.graphenetimes.com


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:57 pm
It still doesn't help use make a vacuum balloon, if it's strength is tensile.

But at least it's been shown to have uses, and can actually be manufactured in sufficinet quanitites. Unlike CNTs.


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:30 pm
Well, like that halfbakery concept I cited, you could make a vacuum balloon from rigid inflatables.

I don't know if you've heard of things like rigid air beams and air arches, etc

http://www.gizmag.com/go/4017/

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Here's the halfbakery idea I cited:

http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Inflated ... _20Balloon


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Post Re: Hard shell balloon   Posted on: Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:42 pm
Here is the graphene balloon I mentioned:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26062093/

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1 ... lated.html

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