Zeppelin Construction

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Atomic_Sheep

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Nov 6, 2008
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Melbourne, Australia
Hello,

I'm researching zeppelin construction and there isn't that much info on these things.

I've got the following two sites as interesting sources of information:

The process of constructing the USS Los Angeles rigid airship by Zeppelin company...HD Stock Footage - YouTube

The Hindenburg’s Design and Technology

^ Click on the images and they expand, the zeppelin one is quite detailed!

However I also read somewhere that the designers used slide rulers to calculate all the stresses and strains at different conceivable flight loadings.

This interested me the most because I'm not at all familiar with how such conceivable flight situations are defined and then how someone might go about calculating the forces given the tiny pieces that these things are built from.
 

BoKu

Pundit
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Aug 15, 2013
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Western US
Hello,

I'm researching zeppelin construction and there isn't that much info on these things.

I've got the following two sites as interesting sources of information:

The process of constructing the USS Los Angeles rigid airship by Zeppelin company...HD Stock Footage - YouTube

The Hindenburg’s Design and Technology

^ Click on the images and they expand, the zeppelin one is quite detailed!

However I also read somewhere that the designers used slide rulers to calculate all the stresses and strains at different conceivable flight loadings.

This interested me the most because I'm not at all familiar with how such conceivable flight situations are defined and then how someone might go about calculating the forces given the tiny pieces that these things are built from.
You also might find it interesting to look into the British R100 and R101 airships. You can read about the design and development of the R100 in the Nevil Shute [Norway] autobiography Slide Rule.
 

Topaz

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...However I also read somewhere that the designers used slide rulers to calculate all the stresses and strains at different conceivable flight loadings.
Slide rules, mechanical calculators (what the older of us might call an "adding machine"), and good old paper and pencil.

Marchant_-_Odhner_clone_1950.jpg

This interested me the most because I'm not at all familiar with how such conceivable flight situations are defined and then how someone might go about calculating the forces given the tiny pieces that these things are built from.
Same way you eat an elephant: One bit at a time. Rigid airships are basically giant 3D trusses that are built of smaller trusses. You calculate the loads on each large fin, control surface, and the entire big truss for the entire airship, finding the loads in each "strut" that makes up the big truss. Then once you have the load in that member, you calculate the load inside the smaller truss that makes it up, and down and down until you get to the smallest pieces. They accomplished that with rows and rows of "calculators": People at desks whose job it was to run stresses on their little part(s) of the structure.

143095-004-D65C4345.jpg

I'm sure they probably established "standard" truss members that could take pre-defined loadings, and didn't analyze every single little strut making up each section of truss. That would save a lot of time and effort, and if they had several "standard" units, wouldn't result in much of a weight penalty.

We tend to think of such things being impossible without digital computers, but the computer is just doing the same ultimate task, much faster and with fewer people. In the end, it's all just math. You could design the structure of an F-22 with paper and pencil and a pocket calculator, if you had enough time.
 

BBerson

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I had a book about airship design years ago, it got left behind when I moved.
The triangle trusses were made of duralumin angles riveted together. Typically the angles were formed from sheet about 1" wide of .020" to .040" thick.
 

PTAirco

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Corona CA
You also might find it interesting to look into the British R100 and R101 airships. You can read about the design and development of the R100 in the Nevil Shute [Norway] autobiography Slide Rule.
Beat me to it - I was going to mention old Nevil too.
 

autoreply

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Jul 7, 2009
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Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Try some documents from Zeppelin NT (semi-zeppelins).

Calculations of a truss structure is surprisingly simple. With length and force per node, you know which I it has to have to withstand buckling and you size accordingly.
 

dino

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florida
The aluminum angles were joined by aluminum tube diagonals that were flattened at the end and fastened by a rivet.

Dino
 
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