Inertia factors of ellipsoids for use in airship design

Tuckerman, L B

This report is based on a study made by the writer as a member of the Special Committee on Design of Army Semirigid Airship RS-1 appointed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The increasing interest in airships has made the problem of the potential flow of a fluid about an ellipsoid of considerable practical importance. In 1833 George Green, in discussing the effect of the surrounding medium upon the period of a pendulum, derived three elliptic integrals, in terms of which practically all the characteristics of this type of motion can be expressed. The theory of this type of motion is very fully given by Horace Lamb in his "Hydrodynamics," and applications to the theory of airships by many other writers. Tables of the inertia coefficients derived from these integrals are available for the most important special cases. These tables are adequate for most purposes, but occasionally it is desirable to know the values of these integrals in other cases where tabulated values are not available. For this reason it seems worth while to assemble a collection of formulae which would enable them to be computed directly from standard tables of elliptic integrals, circular and hyperbolic functions and logarithms without the need of intermediate transformations. Some of the formulae for special cases (elliptic cylinder, prolate spheroid, oblate spheroid, etc.) have been published before, but the general forms and some special cases have not been found in previous publications. (author)

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