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The Science of Airships at Clockwork Alchemy

centaur 0

The Science of Airships v2.png

I’ll be giving a presentation on The Science of Airships at the Clockwork Alchemy steampunk conference on Sunday, May 27th at noon. UPDATE: The panel description is now up:

Science of Airships Anthony Francis Steampunk isn’t just brown, boots and buttons – our adventurers need glorious flying machines! This panel will unpack the science of lift, the innovations of Count Zeppelin, how airships went down in flames and how we might still have cruise liners of the air if things had gone a bit differently.

I started researching this topic for THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE and it’s fascinating! Come one, come all and find out how much each of you are buoyant!

The Earth v1 air cubic foot weight.png

-the Centaur

P.S. The first diagram was generated in Mathematica using the following code:

sphere = SphericalPlot3D[1, th, phi, PlotPoints -> 5][[1]];
Zeppelin =
Function[{length, width},
   Scale[Rotate[sphere, 90 Degree, {0, 1, 0}], {length/2, width/2,
   {LightGray, Opacity[0.6], Zeppelin[7, 1]},
Table[Sphere[{i, 0, 0}, 0.2 + (2 – Abs[i])/20], {i, -2.7, 2.5, 1.0}]},
   }, {{2.5, 0, 0}}], Ticks -> Automatic, Axes -> True,
Epilog ->
Inset[Framed[Style[“Zeppelin”, 20], Background -> LightYellow], {Right,
Bottom}, {Right, Bottom}], ImageSize -> {800, 600},
ViewAngle -> 4 °]

The second diagram was generated in Adobe Illustrator based on calculations done in Microsoft Excel.

P.P.S. And yes I know that it’s a bit weird to do calculations in Excel when I have Mathematica, but (a) I didn’t have Mathematica when I started working on this problem, but someone donated me a free copy of Mathematica Cookbook and that convinced me to give Mathematica a try for some of my diagrams, and (b) after having worked with Mathematica’s notebooks and with Microsoft Excel I’m still using both, each for different things, and have come to the conclusion that an Excel spreadsheet model powered by Mathematica’s symbolic reasoning engine would be thirty-one flavors of awesome!

One day.