The wings get thermal cycling up the wazoo!

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Posted by Wayne on August 21, 2002 at 10:23:58:

In Reply to: Re: Thermodynamics posted by Kendall Raine on August 21, 2002 at 09:09:13:

You know, if you think about what a plane goes through with pressurization and thermal cycles it is pretty amazing. And they do not unbolt themselves very often. I do remember a 737 that went convertable in Hawaii some years ago in Hawaii...

There was once a program called NASP for National Aero Space Plane. New York to Tokyo in an hour or some such nonsense. Anyway the fuel was Hydrogen Slush (even colder than liquid hydrogen) and the insulation blanket was about 1/2 inch. The surface of the aircraft skin was around 500 degrees F due to all that friction from air. So you had a HUGE temperature difference across that half inch. Because of the heat on the outside of the plane, its skin would grow almost a foot longer when in flight because of thermal expansion. But we never expected its hoses to come loose in Hawaii.


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