Aeroscraft Corporation (Aeros) has been granted patent number by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an important an sub-system empowering the innovative Aeroscraft cargo airship.
The Utility Patent covers the multi-functional ‘Aerostructure for Rigid Body Airship,’ or ‘Aeroshell,’ which defines the outer shape of the lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicle, while serving structural and operational functions as a unique internal truss system.
The Aeroscraft’s patented Aeroshell provides the major external frame of the vehicle, and includes three main structural features: a rigid internal main frame which carries all primary moment and shear loads induced, the vehicle’s skin (or envelope) which forms a semi-rigid membrane, and a rigid Aeroshell frame interposed between the main frame and the skin.
The internal main frame serves as the main load supporting structure of the vehicle, and is structurally capable of handling bending moment.
Aeros’ engineering director, John Wertz says: “Aeros’ Aeroshell is light, yet counteracts the loads imposed by cargo payloads, aerodynamic lift and pressure, static lift, and shear loading/ movement.
“The rigid structure design does not rely on lifting gas pressure to maintain structural integrity; the Aeroshell maintains the aircraft hull’s shape under the stress imposed by aerodynamic loads, for increased airspeed relative to traditional lighter-than-air (LTA) aircraft.”
Aeros says the lightweight rigid structural Aeroshell design provides aerodynamic stability while increasing the aerodynamic lift compared with the cigar shaped hulls of earlier zeppelins, increasing payload accommodation, airspeed and manoeuvrability, particularly in high wind conditions.
The Aeroshell also provides convenient attachment and support of aircraft engines, canards, empennage structures, cockpit, and other auxiliary systems. It further functions as the lifting gas container of the airship, thus it also carries static lift and hoop tension created by positive helium pressure.
Finally, the lift producing rigid hull is advantageous because it allows an airship to take off in a statically heavy condition, when required, a condition where the hull and payload weight exceed the maximum buoyancy supplied solely by the helium lifting gas.