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comment by kleinbl00

It's a serious engineering challenge to make a lightweight membrane that's impermeable to helium. It's an itty bitty molecule. On the plus side, it's chemically inert.

It's actually impossible to make a membrane that's impermeable to hydrogen. It's highly reactive, for one, and reacts with most anything it touches. It also decays straight-up in to alpha radiation which is freakishly science-ey. The fact that we use helium, even though hydrogen lifts twice as much, says a lot about what sort of compromises are necessary when dealing with lighter-than-air craft.




user-inactivated  ·  935 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Let's just switch to hydrogen then. What's the worse that could happen? /s

kleinbl00  ·  935 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We could also just replace the atmosphere with sodium hexafluoride. It makes airship design much simpler.

WanderingEng  ·  935 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I assume you mean sulfur hexaflouride. A coworker had a balloon of that, and it's so weird seeing a balloon fall to the ground like it's filled with rocks. It's nice and inert, too! So inert it's used for high voltage insulation.

user-inactivated  ·  935 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I just realized I would kill to see James Earl Jones take a hit of sulfur hexafluoride and then say a few lines from Star Wars.

kleinbl00  ·  935 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The Internet has let me down. I did what I could.

user-inactivated  ·  935 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's awesome.