Patent Recognizes Lightweight Aeroshell that Supports Cargo Payloads, Structural Integrity and Aerodynamic Loading Capability, While Contributing Added Benefits of Aerodynamic Lift in Flight
Aeroscraft Corporation (Aeros), a manufacturer of airships and aerostats operating with a FAA Type and Production Certificate, announced on March 23, 2016 that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Aeros U.S. patent number (U.S. Pat. No. 9,266,597) for an important 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’ Aeroshell is light, yet counteracts the loads imposed by cargo payloads, aerodynamic lift and pressure, static lift, and shear loading/movement,” explains Aeros’ Engineering Director, John Wertz. “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.”
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 maneuverability, 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.
Structural elements of the Aeroscraft Technology Demonstration Vehicle, built at roughly 1:2 scale of the larger, operational ML866 cargo airship now under construction:
Source: Aeroscraft Corporation- Aeroscraft.com
Click here to see the patent documentation.