HOW CAN A COR­NER CAUSE A PLANE TO CRASH?

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Technology -

Doors, win­dows, fuel cap: any­thing sub­ject to in-flight stresses is curved in shape to counter the ef­fects of pres­sure. At an al­ti­tude of 10,000 me­tres the air pres­sure out­side the air­craft is lower than the pres­sure in­side the pas­sen­ger cabin. With these dif­fer­ing pres­sures ex­erted on the plane, the cir­cum­fer­ence of the cabin ex­pands by a few mil­lime­tres, like a hot air bal­loon when it is in the sky. If the win­dows were square, danger­ous lev­els of stress could build up on their cor­ners and lead to crack­ing. Ba­si­cally, where there’s a cor­ner, there’s a weak spot, which is why aero­space en­gi­neers pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to even the small­est parts on the fuse­lage. Mean­while, pas­sen­gers are pro­tected from out­side tem­per­a­tures of mi­nus 50ºc by a spe­cial in­su­la­tion layer vis­i­ble in the pic­ture on the left.

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