The Use of Helium for Aircraft Purposes


    SHORTLY after the commencement of the war it became evident that if helium were available in sufficient quantities to replace hydrogen in naval and military airships, the losses in life and equipment arising from the use of hydrogen would be enormously lessened. Helium, as is known, is most suitable as a filling for airship envelopes, in that it is non-inflammable and non-explosive, and, if desired, the engines may be placed within the envelope. By its use it is also possible to secure additional buoyancy by heating the gas (electrically or otherwise), and this fact might possibly lead to considerable modifications in the technique of airship manœuvres and navigation. The loss of gas from diffusion through the envelope is also less with helium than with hydrogen, but, on the other hand, the lifting power of helium is about 10 per cent, less than that of hydrogen.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    The Use of Helium for Aircraft Purposes . Nature 102, 487–488 (1919).

    Download citation


    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.