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Author Topic: Living conditions on an steampunk airship?  (Read 21402 times)
The Traveller
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« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2011, 11:10:20 pm »

Also I thought the Irish and Russian drank nothing but their respective alcoholic beverages  Wink

Well being Irish and having lived with Russians, I can lay that myth to rest, fortunately, being merely partial to the odd snifter of cognac on rare occasions. Cheesy

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means you pee more often when drinking it, which flushes the water from the body. Also it dries out membranes it comes into contact with, and if all that wasn't enough entertainment for one night, it contains poisons that need water to flush them out. Drinking more is no good, you just fall over drunk long before you can retain any useful amount of water. So stories about early settlers or people as a whole replacing water with alcohol are unlikely to be true - keep in mind that even the many primal cultures extant in the world today do not do this.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 11:12:08 pm by The Traveller » Logged

Matthias Gladstone
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« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2011, 11:13:41 pm »

Quote
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Do you mean sir I shouldn't worry too much as you already have suitable illustrations or that I should, and here's a few ideas to help?
-Matt


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« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2011, 12:26:34 am »

Matthias Gladstone - Those were just a few suggestions.  While the weights of everything must be kept to an absolute minimum at least rigid airships should have a lot of space to work with. 

One external design comment is that sails don't work on airships.  The whole aircraft is moving in the same body of air so there would not be any tension on any additional sails (except in turbulence, wind shears, or other extreme conditions).  Airships can only sail over water with a sea keel of some sort: http://www.gizmag.com/zeppy3-sail-balloon-mediterranean-crossing-attempt/15552/  This is the same reason that sailboats have keels - to allow them to play the force vectors off against each other and be directional.  Modern sailboats can even sail into the wind to a point and then tack to gain more control. 

http://www.naval-airships.org/resources/Documents/tnb74.pdf

"Dew and rainfall on the hull

In the airships LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin and LZ 129 Hindenburg rain gutters were attached to the trunk to collect rainwater to fill the ballast water tanks during the trip. However, this procedure is weather dependent and is therefore not reliable as a standalone measure."


What this means is that large quantities of water could be potentially scavenged in flight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buoyancy_compensator_(aviation)

Yes many of our grandcestors did drink fermented beverages to avoid contaminated water but often this was fairly watered down compared to modern alcoholic beverages.

"George Washington's beer recipe
London Telegraph ^ | 05 May 2011 | Jon Swaine

Posted on Friday, May 06, 2011 6:55:23 AM by Pharmboy

Before devoting his time to defeating the British in the Revolutionary War and being the first president of the United States, George Washington enjoyed brewing his own beer.

A handwritten recipe for "small beer" created by Washington in 1757, while serving in the Virginia militia, has been published by the New York Public Library. The recipe, which was found in Washington's "Notebook as a Virginia Colonel", lists the ingredients as bran hops, yeast and molasses –...

"Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste," Washington instructed. "Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall into a cooler [and] put in 3 Gall Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot." "Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yeast if the Weather is very Cold [then] cover it over with a Blanket & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask".

A 15-gallon batch of Washington's beer is to be made to mark the library's centenary by the Coney Island Brewing Company, under the name "Fortitude's Founding Father Brew".

I just had to share a hooch recipe. 
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Ray Hexx
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« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2011, 01:16:06 am »

Water is definitely healthier, but wine and beer can serve in a pinch. Though, I'm not certain about the claim of it being lighter. From a chemical prespective, it seems that the more complicated molecules of various alcohols would produce a heavier liquid.

Grain alcohol is lighter than water.  Water weighs 8.3 lbs. where grain alcohol weighs about 7.7 lbs.  It's all actually based on specific gravity or, in other words, the density of the liquid so exact weights would be based on what "flavor" of alcohol and what the temperature of the liquid is.

For the most part and without getting nitpicky on specifics, all "pure" alcohols (whiskey, vodka, etc.) will weigh less than water, wine about the same (sweet wines will be slightly heavier) and beer/ales will weigh about the same as water.  Rum is a whole different animal since the fermenting process varies so greatly.  I would guess, and only a guess, that you could average rum weighing just about the same as water.

"Here's to swimmin with bow legged woman"  Jaws

Be safe, Ray  

Edit - Spelling errors Smiley
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 01:18:58 am by Ray Hexx » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2011, 01:25:14 am »

Well look at that, learn something new every day!
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Matthias Gladstone
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« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2011, 02:24:09 am »

Matthias Gladstone - Those were just a few suggestions.  While the weights of everything must be kept to an absolute minimum at least rigid airships should have a lot of space to work with. 

One external design comment is that sails don't work on airships.  The whole aircraft is moving in the same body of air so there would not be any tension on any additional sails (except in turbulence, wind shears, or other extreme conditions).  Airships can only sail over water with a sea keel of some sort: http://www.gizmag.com/zeppy3-sail-balloon-mediterranean-crossing-attempt/15552/  This is the same reason that sailboats have keels - to allow them to play the force vectors off against each other and be directional.  Modern sailboats can even sail into the wind to a point and then tack to gain more control. 



If you look at me model you'll see several anchors - these are designed to provide the required hydrostatic resistance; the lowest tier on the GA below is the cable room, holding enough cable for sailing at low altitudes. I'll discuss the rough thoughts behind the design in the morning if you like; i'm a student of naval architecture so I have a fairly good grasp of the physics involved (although that's not to say I resent being told anything twice; my capacity to forget can be terrifying).

A bit rough so far, i'll tart it up later, and i'm sure i've forgotten something (and the rigging is simplified) but in general you have:
Bridge bolted to the mainmast
quarterdeck below that, itself bolted to the top of the wardroom.
Ladder leading down to crew accomodation, on top of the coal bunker (prob, too big). Bunks for 8 crew, space for hammocks between.
Boiler fr'd of the accomodation. Fresh water tank (drinking and boiler) ahead of that
Ballonets fr'd and aft of machinery
Top level of gondola serves as orlop deck, containing stores (fr'd) and magazine (aft)
Aft part of lower tier contains captains cabin and gallery. Fr'd part contains steam engine for driving the turbine and anchor winch.
Semi-rigid design, main reinforcing strut running along top of envelope, with stringer supporting weight with help from two transverse frames. Walkway running from bow to stern. Haven't done the mechanics of solids on the trusses, don't care. Volume may be too low as well, likewise. Expect larger envelope with similar sized crew accommodation in "real life".
-Matt


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VampirateMace
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« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2011, 03:10:00 am »

To, uh, clear up the smoking thing... That was info on the sub's crew. I wasn't suggesting you should smoke on a airship, or that modern safety would even allow it... I left it in more because given the alternate timeline, and or the fact that you might be pirates, smoking regulations might be, less careful.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 03:35:55 am by VampirateMace » Logged

Ray Hexx
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« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2011, 03:21:49 am »

I've really put alot of thought into this, it is a very interesting concept, and what I keep coming back to is the similarities between a sailing ship and an airship.  There where actually steam driven/wind driven sailing ships which would make them even closer in my opinion.  Weight is a concern on sailing ships as well as mass.  Alot of similiarities, I think.

I'm going to read up more on sailing ships since information seems to be more abundant but I think I may have an idea on the the "pirates booty" and supply issue...

What if there where a smaller oasis airship/balloon say at a high altitude or over a cloud bank or something along those lines.  Or maybe tethered in the caldra of a dormant volcano on a small atoll for example.  Say you had a long water crossing, at some point you could have an oasis with additional supplies to replensh stores/supplies/ammo etc. or to store booty til in preperation for the next raid...  

There would be a possibility of someone stumbling across it, kinda like stumbling across an atoll in the Pacific, if you don't come within visual range then you'll easily miss it.

Just a few thoughts.  This has been a great discussion so far... really gets you to thinking Smiley

Be safe, Ray  
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Smaggers
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« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2011, 07:04:06 am »

Y'see I always thought sails would be a good option for running with trade winds, though I suppose the airship itself would act as a sail in that case.

I wonder if there's some loophole to be exploited similar to the "dead downwind faster than the wind" cart?
True that exploits the difference between two media, ground and air, but still,  some way of deflecting the incoming airstream in order to make the airship tack on a broad reach.   

Probably nonsense.

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« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2011, 07:04:42 am »

While I can't comment much on steam engines, i spent most of the last several years crammed into armored vehicles. Making the most out of the room you have is something i can speak with great authority on. Smiley

Clothing: Less is better, lighter weight materials and no huge amounts of clothing changes (say 3-4 shirts, 2-3 jackets/trousers for men at most).

Bedding: Hammocks. Period. They can be the 'hanging bed' type used by naval officers, or pure hammocks, but for space/weight nothing else works. I've spent the day aboard the HMS Victory, a 100-gun (largest rate ship in the fleet) flagship in Portsmouth and even there, except in the captain's and admirals quarters, which were multipurpose in themselves (battle planning, dining/meeting/sleeping etc) everything is pretty tight.

Bags, not trunks. Carpetbags, not steamer trunks except when absolutely necessary, for the same reason ship crews use seabags even today.

Water: Scavenged from the rain, or use a condenser type (steam engine after all) to make your own like nuclear subs do. Low altitude fishing if the airship happened to be hovering low enough. Being at sea, seeing a school of bait fish, dropping a dinghy or whaleboat and a air-dropped large net would get you enough fish for weeks properly done.

Air: Vents... no excuse for not being well ventilated.

Showering: Ship style, 'combat showering' turn water on and wet down, shut off, soap/scrub, rinse. Very minimal use.

The Roman legions drank water cut with some vinegar because of the bad water issue, heavily cut wine also works (1 part wine to around 3 of water for example) in many countries.

Food storage: Overhead and everywhere there is room. Everything is dual purpose, much like in submarines. Fold-out desks, foldup chairs, etc.
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Dr. Madd
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« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2011, 07:58:45 am »

The Crew would be billeted in the pathways on the ship, in recessed hammocks.  At the end of the hall, over the prop, would be the captain's quarters, and the other end would be the galley.  Under that would be the engine room, and the storage rooms, armory, etc.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2011, 09:53:02 am »

#SNIP#
 Also I thought the Irish and Russian drank nothing but their respective alcoholic beverages  Wink
And all Dutch wear wooden shoes and live in wildmills!  Grin

Everything on an airship is designed for low weight. Like others have mentioned, space wouldn't be a big issue, as long as it is lightweight. This would also go for the fuel. An airship would have enough fuel to do the job(and a few extra), but not a drop more. Meaning it has to go to "shore" everytime the fuel is low. When refueling, the crew has the oppertunity to load cargo and food. The food supply wouldn't have to be that big, only for a couple of days or perhaps a week. What I'm trying to say is, there is a X-amount of fuel equal to a Y-amount of food and eventually to the Z-amount of miles it can fly. (kind of like on an airplane)

Something completely different: Safety. Will the crue have a harnas to secure themselves?
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« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2011, 10:05:58 am »

#SNIP#
 Also I thought the Irish and Russian drank nothing but their respective alcoholic beverages  Wink
And all Dutch wear wooden shoes and live in wildmills!  Grin
And all Englishmen drink a lot of tea and speak with a Cambridge accent (I actually do this)...

Anyway, as for a harness I would assume that inside the ship you wouldn't need one... there isn't really anywhere you can go unless there is a lot of turbulence, in which case it might be nice to have little pegs around the ship you can tether yourself to... outside you'd need things running all over the place obviously...
I'd say you would have to wear a harness at all times, and clip it in as needed (maybe have the cable on a quick release system?).
~Longeye~
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« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2011, 10:44:31 am »

Tangent 1. Water
I think that water in many areas couldn't be trusted, it often contained various bacteria and badness. The best way to fix this was to brew it into a very low alcohol beer.
The brewing process killed all the nastyness and the resulting beer could be stored for a while without going bad.
I don't think that 1%abv beer would weigh much different to water though.
On an airship I'd guess fresh water would be stored in tanks, topped up when needed.
It is a diuretic, but the water taken on when drinking it is much more than water lost when you pee.

Tangent 2 – Smoking.
I agree it probably wouldn't be allowed on a platform suspended under a massive bag of flammable gas. But, people like to smoke.
I would guess that people would smoke when they had a chance to get off the ship.
There might also be some sort of cinder free pipe, or perhaps a rear deck or low balcony where smoking was allowed.

Perhaps airships might travel in pairs.
One for rich passengers with big stately rooms, and another one for luggage and cheap seats.

Fishing could be accomplished by a drag line, although it would depend on how high airship was travelling.
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The Abiliegh
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The_Abi
« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2011, 01:03:48 pm »

Perhaps airships might travel in pairs.
One for rich passengers with big stately rooms, and another one for luggage and cheap seats.

This.

No better way to ensure proper space for your high-end clientel. Crew for the spacious ship can transfer to and from the sterrage ship at shift change, freeing up even more bunk space, any non-essential baggage can be keep out of site (which gives all you disreputable types a good chance to lift a bit while things are unattended), and you give your passengers a chance to go slumming, should they so choose... A fair few good things could come from this.
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Sgt. Glas
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« Reply #40 on: May 18, 2011, 03:05:24 pm »

While working on my personal backstory I did have to think about this a little. I never really thought about weight issues but when it came to clothesI did think it would be smart to keep uniforms to a miniumum, so the saliors and Marines in my mind wear very similar uniforms. But on the note of water, just do what they did in the navies of that time. After all for the most part with us most airships seem to be run by the navy anyways and the navy doesn't change its tune easily.
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The Traveller
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« Reply #41 on: May 18, 2011, 04:01:37 pm »

It is a diuretic, but the water taken on when drinking it is much more than water lost when you pee.

If the alcohol is that weak it won't do much to purify the water though, you need chlorine drops or boiling to kill most bacteria, and even that won't slow down the likes of cryptosporidium, a common agent in waters near livestock pens, which needs UV dousing to remove. Then there are chemical pollutants, which require activated (acid shaped) charcoal to get rid of.

Maybe the best thing would be to have a water purifying apparatus on board and filter everything through that? With a steam boiler and the charcoal remnants there are even all of the required mechanisms inbuilt!
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Matthias Gladstone
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« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2011, 04:55:25 pm »

Here's a potential problem with steam powered airships: you need to condense the water from the engine exhaust before you feed it back into the boiler, or replace the water in the boiler from another source. What's the cooling system on an airship going to be like? You'd need a hell of a radiator. Perhaps use the lifting gas as a heat sink, which then seeps into the atmosphere through the skin?
-Matt
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« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2011, 06:11:10 pm »

Matthias Gladstone - Those were just a few suggestions.  While the weights of everything must be kept to an absolute minimum at least rigid airships should have a lot of space to work with. 

One external design comment is that sails don't work on airships.  The whole aircraft is moving in the same body of air so there would not be any tension on any additional sails (except in turbulence, wind shears, or other extreme conditions).  Airships can only sail over water with a sea keel of some sort: http://www.gizmag.com/zeppy3-sail-balloon-mediterranean-crossing-attempt/15552/  This is the same reason that sailboats have keels - to allow them to play the force vectors off against each other and be directional.  Modern sailboats can even sail into the wind to a point and then tack to gain more control. 



If you look at me model you'll see several anchors - these are designed to provide the required hydrostatic resistance; the lowest tier on the GA below is the cable room, holding enough cable for sailing at low altitudes. I'll discuss the rough thoughts behind the design in the morning if you like; i'm a student of naval architecture so I have a fairly good grasp of the physics involved (although that's not to say I resent being told anything twice; my capacity to forget can be terrifying).

A bit rough so far, i'll tart it up later, and i'm sure i've forgotten something (and the rigging is simplified) but in general you have:
Bridge bolted to the mainmast
quarterdeck below that, itself bolted to the top of the wardroom.
Ladder leading down to crew accomodation, on top of the coal bunker (prob, too big). Bunks for 8 crew, space for hammocks between.
Boiler fr'd of the accomodation. Fresh water tank (drinking and boiler) ahead of that
Ballonets fr'd and aft of machinery
Top level of gondola serves as orlop deck, containing stores (fr'd) and magazine (aft)
Aft part of lower tier contains captains cabin and gallery. Fr'd part contains steam engine for driving the turbine and anchor winch.
Semi-rigid design, main reinforcing strut running along top of envelope, with stringer supporting weight with help from two transverse frames. Walkway running from bow to stern. Haven't done the mechanics of solids on the trusses, don't care. Volume may be too low as well, likewise. Expect larger envelope with similar sized crew accommodation in "real life".
-Matt



My apologize, I did not see the anchors/keels before. 

Have you considered using "filled sails" that hold additional lifting gas?  Not only could they help provide their own lift but if the main gas bags were compromised they would give the pilot a slight chance to get people down alive using the balloon sails as a glider/parachute. 
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The Traveller
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« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2011, 08:20:22 pm »

There's no real need to have airships lighter than air, on the subject of boilers. The Walrus HULA generates lift through a combination of aerodynamics, thrust vectoring, and gas buoyancy, and can haul over a thousand tons many miles, while being heavier than air.



A bit too streamlined for my tastes, needs more ropes and pipes, but it puts heavy loads into the realm of reality. Safety could be dealt with by having netting over exposed areas, with holes just wide enough to catch a man flying sideways into it.

Completely unrelated to the thread topic and someone has probably already thought of it, but what about fiendish devices to use the wafting currents of the upper atmosphere to generate lightning and blast the unwitting foes of any mad scientist into the hereafter?
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Smaggers
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« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2011, 09:32:49 pm »

Here's a potential problem with steam powered airships: you need to condense the water from the engine exhaust before you feed it back into the boiler, or replace the water in the boiler from another source. What's the cooling system on an airship going to be like? You'd need a hell of a radiator. Perhaps use the lifting gas as a heat sink, which then seeps into the atmosphere through the skin?
-Matt

I was thinking lifting gas , but the thing about height, it gets very cold very quickly.
You may want to recirculate that heat if travelling in colder climes. I'm sure some of the support struts could double as pipes for circulation of hot water.
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Captain
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« Reply #46 on: May 18, 2011, 09:57:42 pm »

Here's a potential problem with steam powered airships: you need to condense the water from the engine exhaust before you feed it back into the boiler, or replace the water in the boiler from another source. What's the cooling system on an airship going to be like? You'd need a hell of a radiator. Perhaps use the lifting gas as a heat sink, which then seeps into the atmosphere through the skin?
-Matt


I was thinking lifting gas , but the thing about height, it gets very cold very quickly.
You may want to recirculate that heat if traveling in colder climes. I'm sure some of the support struts could double as pipes for circulation of hot water.


I think that you are on to something.  Steam itself is a lifting gas so a large bag type internal condenser  would produce some lift while the water it recollected and steam would be a safe way to heat even hydrogen which would increase its lifting efficiency. 

For that matter, grey waste water could still be run through the boilers rather than just dumped overboard. 

One of the potentially cleverest power sources that I have seen would be turning the whole air bag into a giant solar Sterling engine:



http://smallblimps.lefora.com/2010/11/11/airship-as-a-stirling-engine/ 
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« Reply #47 on: May 18, 2011, 11:41:04 pm »

 How about an airship in the form of a man made whale that is an organism that produces its gases etc..after that its a case of harnessing it and strapping a huge gondola to it? Wink
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« Reply #48 on: May 18, 2011, 11:51:16 pm »

You want to fly a whale through the skies?
I approve.
~Longeye~
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Matthias Gladstone
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« Reply #49 on: May 19, 2011, 12:13:47 am »

Captain - not a problem sir!
I wouldn't personally use the steam as a lifting gas - firstly it means you have to burn more coal to make sure you always have enough of it (no turning off the engines and sailing); secondly, if you're using it as well as hydrogen/helium then you're taking up valuable space which could be occupied to a better lifting gas. I think the best bet would be a heat exchanger running through the centre of the gas bags - lots of pipes (so lots of area) transfer heat to the gas; the gas convects within the cells, dumping the heat at the cooler inside edge of the envelope. The steam is therefore condensed back into water, when it is then pumped back into the boiler. I don't think an open steam circuit would be practical - sure you can collect rainwater, but you'll need buckets of it everyday if you keep venting it to atmosphere. Think of steam trains, and how much they go through.
lift is increased as a result when the engine is running; the exhaust gases could be utilised in the same way, to heat the envelope. Of course, as you run out of coal, you'll get more lift force out of the envelope; likewise, if you heat the hydrogen too much (say engine running on a hot day), you'll have too much lift; further, the pressure inside the gas cells could reach dangerous levels. The soltuion is either to use ballonets, which may not be sufficient, or vent precious lifting gas.
One potential solution is the coal itself - I believe coke, which is generally a better fuel than coal, is produced by heating coal in an oxygen-less environment. The resulting coal gas is, to the best of my knowledge, lighter than air. This could be used to supplement the exisiting supplies of hydrogen when required, by heating the coal fuel using waste or diverted heat from the boiler/furnace.
Of course, this isn't ideal as you're replacing one very light gas with a significantly heavier one, so lift will be reduced - but you can always lower its density by heating it up again, or perhaps even "crack" the coal gas into ever lighter hydrocarbons, perhaps even reaching hydrogen itself at some point.
-Matt
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