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Old Dec 22, 2012, 04:15 PM
Registered User
Melbourne, Australia
Joined May 2005
126 Posts
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Ballast System for Small Indoor Airships

I present here a ballast system for very small indoor airships.

For no reason other than as an operational scale detail, I made a ballast system for a model zeppelin LZ5 (details of this were in airshipmodeler.com, now apparently defunct site). 1st pic shows the system. Empty weight 1/3 gram. 2nd pic is close up of the transparent tub, which can hold 1 gram of liquid ballast

Next 2 pics show the operation. A memory wire pulls on a thread wrapped around the tub to rotate it, while elastic (black cord) rotates it back when the memory wire is de-energised. 5th pic shows it unballasting; when operating it drains a full tub in about 20 seconds.

The tub (shown removed in next pic) has a Teflon tube which is a close fit in the aluminium tube on the holder. Holes in each tube (one can be seen in the teflon tube) line up when the wire is energized and allow flow. I works well with methylated spirits, but not water (due to high surface tension). The transparent shroud around the bottom of the aluminium tube is necessary to stop the fluid wetting the outside of the tube and flowing all over the rig, rather than dripping off.

I have not yet flown the model with this system installed, so canít yet say whether it actually does anything useful. Will report when flown.
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