Author Topic: Nuclear Powered Aircraft  (Read 5219 times)

Offline GTX_Admin

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Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« on: April 05, 2014, 06:55:13 AM »
A thread for your nuclear powered aircraft ideas and inspiration, be that real:



or fictional

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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2014, 06:56:35 AM »
BTW, the second aircraft comes from here and is something I am tempted to have a go at for the upcoming Anything but military GB.
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Offline jcf

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2014, 07:15:00 AM »
Technically the first one isn't nuclear 'powered'.  ;)
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Offline Frank3k

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2014, 07:39:52 AM »
The second one (Hafnium isomer induced gamma emission) is somewhere between science fiction and pure quackery.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 07:58:43 AM »
Technically the first one isn't nuclear 'powered'.  ;)

True..but the plan originally was for it to be...and it is an aircraft that actually flew (be that under nuclear power or not).
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2014, 07:59:02 AM »
The second one (Hafnium isomer induced gamma emission) is somewhere between science fiction and pure quackery.

Hence the fictional moniker....it does provide an excuse to cut up a Global Hawk kit though. ;)
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Offline jcf

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2014, 09:48:36 AM »
Technically the first one isn't nuclear 'powered'.  ;)

True..but the plan originally was for it to be...and it is an aircraft that actually flew (be that under nuclear power or not).

True, the unbuilt X-6 would have been nuke powered, however the NB-36H was never intended
to be anything other than proof of concept for reactor carriage.
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Offline jcf

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2014, 09:51:19 AM »
Martin 331-1, P6M based nuclear powered project, and support vessels.







« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 05:35:15 AM by jcf »
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
conspiracy.”
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2014, 11:29:24 AM »
Interesting, heat exchanger to superheat air to drive the turbine which in turn drives the compressor stages, always wondered how it would work.  An airship would be an interesting application, even an airship carrier or a heli-carrier  ;D

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2014, 12:11:58 PM »
The 1975 technothriller (before the genre was said to exist!) Clash of Titans had a US nuclear-powered rigid airship carrying Harriers and helicopters up against a Soviet carrier with developed versions of the original Yak-36.  Ostensibly, both were deployed to rescue an airliner that crashed on a Pacific island but, in truth, both were trying to recover a Soviet defector who was on that flight.  Note, this is not the same as the novelization of the movie with Ursula Andress and her boytoy at the time; that was Clash of The Titans.

The airship had two nuclear-powered turbofans using heat exchangers and one turbine-driven turbo-prop large and slow enough to use helicopter rotors as the basis of the propeller blades.  This was based on a concept put forward in a 1973 AIAA technical paper.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 12:13:59 PM by elmayerle »

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2014, 02:54:12 AM »
Interesting, heat exchanger to superheat air to drive the turbine which in turn drives the compressor stages, always wondered how it would work.  An airship would be an interesting application, even an airship carrier or a heli-carrier  ;D

In essence the operation is no different to that for a conventional gas turbine (using a open Brayton cycle - see, I do remember something from my Thermodynamics classes from my Mechanical Engineering degree ;) ): air enters and is compressed (hence the term compressor); then heat is applied (usually this is in the form of combustion, though in a nuclear turbine that heat comes via heat exchanger with heat derived from the nuclear source); then the compressed, heated air is allowed to expand via the turbine (which takes some of the energy and converts to spinning motion to run the compressor at the front) and eventually out the rear nozzle which allows thrust.  Simples!
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2014, 02:58:30 AM »
I must admit that I like the simplicity and elegance of closed core (as opposed to open core where the incoming air runs directly through the core and thus releases radioactive exhaust) nuclear engines.  If we could guarantee the integrity of the core (even in the most extreme of crashes), it would be an almost perfect solution...and good for the environment.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 03:12:23 AM by GTX_Admin »
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2014, 03:06:27 AM »
Open-core is better reserved for deep-space propulsion, like the NERVA engine.

Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2014, 07:27:35 AM »
At the other end of the scale, they don't get much more fictional than Hilbert Schencks' magnificent STEAM BIRD



Here's a review

I expect most of you will recognize the source of the illustration, which has also been
scale-o-rama'd to a fair-thee-well.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2014, 07:57:39 AM »
Actually, if memory serves me correctly, the Project Pluto missile was open-core; then again, it wasn't intended to RTB.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2014, 11:26:09 AM »
Actually, if memory serves me correctly, the Project Pluto missile was open-core; then again, it wasn't intended to RTB.


Yes it was open core...I didn't include it earlier since it was a missile:



You can get a model of it though:

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Offline Diamondback

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2014, 12:21:20 PM »
ISTR a proposal for a manned nuclear bomber mentioned in Pop Sci or Pop Mech many years back, in one of their flashback sections... one of the requirements was that pilots be past child-rearing age--my guess is that other than testing even THOSE would be intended as Long-Range Nuclear Kamikazes.

Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2014, 09:39:46 AM »
 I wonder if this was the Flashback....

 Nuclear Airplanes:A Roundtable

A number of the actors in the Nuclear Airplane project discuss the possibilities and problems. From Popular Mechanics, April 1957

Offline Diamondback

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2014, 10:17:45 AM »
Doc, what I saw was a mention in the '80s or '90s. Sorry, long day on a research project, plus a pack of B****y Little Girls on another board I have to deal with... brain's shot. LOL

Offline Nexus1171

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2014, 06:25:58 AM »
That idea of a Halfnium-178 powering a civilian airliner.. that's a recipe for disaster: http://www.damninteresting.com/half-science-and-hafnium-bombs/

I have heard of the Pakistanis making nuclear bombs the size of tennis balls...

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Re: Nuclear Powered Aircraft
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2019, 08:02:38 PM »




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