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Notes from Tony's desk Random thoughts from Tony Bryer

 
 
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Old 14th October 2010, 09:56 PM   #1
Tony Bryer
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 823
Default On designing airships

In Neville Shute's autobiography 'Slide Rule' he writes about the design of the R100 airship (c.1930):

The forces and bending moments in the members could be calculated by the solution of a lengthy simultaneous equations containing up to seven unknown quantities; this work usually occupied two [human] calculators about a week using a Fuller slide rule and working in pairs to check for arithmetical mistakes.

Ah, the good old days. I went through university (1971-74) without ever seeing a computer. In my last year we used slide rules for our structural engineering calcs; the tutor owned an object of wonder, a calculator with trig functions. From memory it had cost him 400, several month's salary then. Five years later I owned my own computer and the long path to today's programs began - see the SuperBeam museum page http://www.superbeam.co.uk/museum.
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