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pangalactic
02-22-2011, 12:25 AM
Another quick question. I have this idea of airships that somehow use magnetism (or something) to cling to the bottom of storm clouds and travel by doing this. Is there any kind of real scientific explanation that would allow this to work, even if it is possible in practice at the moment, or am I going to have to rely on fake science/magic?

Drachen Jager
02-22-2011, 02:40 AM
Fake science. Storm clouds are not magnetic.

And, if you've flown much you know clouds don't really have well defined edges like they appear to have when you're on Earth looking up.

pangalactic
02-22-2011, 02:47 AM
Fake science. Storm clouds are not magnetic.

And, if you've flown much you know clouds don't really have well defined edges like they appear to have when you're on Earth looking up.

I figured that'd be the case, thanks.

Reziac
02-25-2011, 03:57 AM
Howeeeeever... what if your world has a very dense magnetic field, and it can be used as a sort of pathway for appropriate craft? the routes would likely be limited to following the field, but in return you might get sub-orbital, long-distance travel (tho perhaps unable to set down between endpoints).

Of course it would also mess up electricals (probably make 'em useless, dangerous, maybe impossible) but you could use that lack in your story, right? :)

pangalactic
02-25-2011, 05:59 PM
Reziac, that's something I'll have a think about. The story centres around a world where the use of electricity is strictly controlled, and is produced by airships that harvest power from storms. Lots of fake science going on, but an idea like yours could probably fit really well with the world I'm developing.

Another question, if you will (physics really isn't a strength of mine); given such a craft that flies into storms etc., would there be any issue with having metal objects on board?

Reziac
02-26-2011, 12:37 AM
I understand planes get hit by lightning without ill effect; it's the having somewhere to GO (ie. path to ground) that does the burning. This is already 110% of my actual knowledge on the subject; my method of dealing with electrical stuff is "Did the breaker blow? If not, it's right!" :tongue

benbradley
02-26-2011, 01:46 AM
I understand planes get hit by lightning without ill effect; it's the having somewhere to GO (ie. path to ground) that does the burning. This is already 110% of my actual knowledge on the subject; my method of dealing with electrical stuff is "Did the breaker blow? If not, it's right!" :tongue
The lightning goes around the aircraft, along the edge. Aluminum is a good conductor, especially the large amount that's on the surface of the aircraft. It's like a short circuit to the lightning, it continues on above the aircraft and below it to the ground. Large commercial aircraft are (mostly...) immune to lightning. Anything that has a metal shell will conduct the lightning through the shell. This is why it's (relatively) safe to be in a car that is hit by lightning. All the electricity goes through the frame.

Hallen
02-26-2011, 03:18 AM
Reziac, that's something I'll have a think about. The story centres around a world where the use of electricity is strictly controlled, and is produced by airships that harvest power from storms. Lots of fake science going on, but an idea like yours could probably fit really well with the world I'm developing.

Another question, if you will (physics really isn't a strength of mine); given such a craft that flies into storms etc., would there be any issue with having metal objects on board?


Reziac, that's something I'll have a think about. The story centres around a world where the use of electricity is strictly controlled, and is produced by airships that harvest power from storms. Lots of fake science going on, but an idea like yours could probably fit really well with the world I'm developing.

Another question, if you will (physics really isn't a strength of mine); given such a craft that flies into storms etc., would there be any issue with having metal objects on board?

It's possible if the airship was tethered to the ground with some kind of conductive material. The problem is storing the electricity. It's extremely improbible to put lightning power into a battery because the pulse is way to fast and way too high voltage. I suppose some kind of capacitor system could be setup to help buffer and delay the charge. But, that kind of battery technology is way complicated. It is just a story, so you can use some kind of magical electrical repository to store the power I suppose.

An airship might be a good craft to send in or near a thunder storm as long as you are ready to let it ride the currents of the storm. If you try to hold it in place, it might get torn to shreds by the forces though.

There would be an issue with conductive objects, but it can be controlled. As long as you have something more conductive that's easier of the electricity to ground to, then people would most likely be safe (like using a lightning rod on a house our church steeple).

The magnetic field thing is interesting. If your airship had coils in it, and it was flown through powerful magnetic flux lines, you would create electrical current. Again, you'd need a way to transmit that electricity and store it, but it should work. (electromagnetism is one of the 4 forces -- it is only one force in different forms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetism )

Reziac
02-26-2011, 03:55 AM
For more airship fun:

http://www.personalblimp.com/

Kenn
02-27-2011, 02:57 PM
The magnetic field thing is interesting. If your airship had coils in it, and it was flown through powerful magnetic flux lines, you would create electrical current. Again, you'd need a way to transmit that electricity and store it, but it should work. (electromagnetism is one of the 4 forces -- it is only one force in different forms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetism )
Similarly, lightning (and electrical current) creates a magnetic field and can magnetise objects.

The airship would form a Faraday cage and you should be safe inside it as long as you didn't touch the sides. That said, I believe irregularities on its surface (fins, etc.) have the potential to cause leakage.

I think Hallen's right that energy storage (transmission) is the problem.

Icing would be a big problem inside a storm (as hailstones know only too well!)

KQ800
03-04-2011, 03:33 PM
Another quick question. I have this idea of airships that somehow use magnetism (or something) to cling to the bottom of storm clouds and travel by doing this. Is there any kind of real scientific explanation that would allow this to work, even if it is possible in practice at the moment, or am I going to have to rely on fake science/magic?

As mentioned before, storm clouds are not magnetic. However, they do tend to generate a lot of electric potential. With a little Yarnium (similar to handwavium, but more exagerration than magic) your airships might use this.

Assume a tower on top that projects a metal rod as far upward as possible, and then a trailing metal wire that is suspended for thousands of yards below the airship. These will be charged by the voltage difference and could power the airships engines as well as charging the batteries with electricity the airship would harvest.

This of course would not work in our world b/c the energy out would be too small. In your world, why not?

An added bonus might be that the skill of the crew could be applied to maintain charge without getting ionization (i. e. a lightning strike) through the tower. ("She canna take much mooorr a dis captin!")

Reziac
03-04-2011, 06:56 PM
That's an interesting idea... wouldn't trailing a long wire generate static electricity even without those storm clouds? And oh, the wickedness that could ensue if you hit a nasty crosswind or a wind sheer.... that wire suddenly becomes a very long and possibly lethal whip. So would need to be designed to break off after a certain level of stress, leaving you with only your capacitors/batteries/whatever applied phlebotinum you store electricity with (how about using a specialized demon as a battery? less weight!) and a very limited powered range til you can get another wire deployed. Which you can't til you reach smoother air.

KQ800
03-04-2011, 10:52 PM
That's an interesting idea... wouldn't trailing a long wire generate static electricity even without those storm clouds? And oh, the wickedness that could ensue if you hit a nasty crosswind or a wind sheer.... that wire suddenly becomes a very long and possibly lethal whip. So would need to be designed to break off after a certain level of stress, leaving you with only your capacitors/batteries/whatever applied phlebotinum you store electricity with (how about using a specialized demon as a battery? less weight!) and a very limited powered range til you can get another wire deployed. Which you can't til you reach smoother air.


I think it would actually bleed off static. that's what wick-antennas do on aircraft anyhoo.

Another interesting maneuver could be when they would fly in formation through the worst of it to spread the charges among them and the fierce winds buffet them. You would have to invent properly aeronautical lingo of course: "Jib those ailerons man!!"

pangalactic
03-07-2011, 06:16 PM
Wow. That's a lot of information right there, thanks everyone! Definite food for thought. I'll have a more useful response when I've had a think; for now I just wanted to say thanks, and let you know I haven't forgotten about this thread. I've just been super busy and not been able to get online as much recently.

Thanks again.