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Thread: Might this be the way to go for electric planes? (hull as battery)

  1. #1 Might this be the way to go for electric planes? (hull as battery) 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    I had thought about this for plane, more from a sci-fi fictional point of view than from an actual engineering one,

    but it looks like some people are actually testing the concept

    Volvo develops battery-infused carbon fiber body panels | ExtremeTech

    so is it just me that finds this a promising avenue for research for eventual electric planes?


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  3. #2  
    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    At first blush I'd say no, at least not for "serious" manned aircraft.
    Structure weight is a bugbear for aeronautical design - it should be minimised as much as possible (but yes, you can replace fuel tank mass AND fuel mass with the batteries).
    Longer range/ faster aircraft will require more battery power (structure) than short-range/ slow aircraft.
    Fuel won't burn off and reduce weight as the mission continues, the weight of the batteries will always be there, as opposed to "real" aircraft that rely, to a large extent, on reduction in overall mass as the flight extends: the further they go the less they weigh, allowing them to fly even further on the remaining fuel as required thrust drops.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree One beer's Avatar
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    Yes, as Daffy says, problem is fuel energy density and therefore mass, which of course is all important with aircraft. With a conventional plane, as the fuel burns off, the plane gets lighter and therefore more efficient. Also the energy density of Jet A1 fuel is high compared to electrical batteries. With a battery plane, as Daffy says, the battery mass will always be there, instead of reducing as with conventional kerosene fuel, reducing the potential overall efficiency. I guess folk are starting to look at this though, because when the oil runs out, we will need to power our aircraft somehow. Hydrogen perhaps? OB (Damn, I can't believe this forum cannot recognise the return key - this time from an iPad. Moderators, can you update the software. Please??)
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by One beer View Post
    I guess folk are starting to look at this though, because when the oil runs out, we will need to power our aircraft somehow. Hydrogen perhaps?
    Still an energy density problem. LNG might be the answer there. (Since aircraft use fuel constantly, the boiloff problem is much less of an issue - at least in flight.)
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