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Architect invents airship to battle smog in Almaty

05 october 2012, 12:01
Illustration by megapolis.kz
Illustration by megapolis.kz
Architect Leila Rakhimzhanova has suggested a simple and inexpensive method of cleaning Almaty from smog, Megapolis writes. The Antismog airship was invented by the architect 30 years ago, but Almaty administration has not yet taken interest in her ideas.

Rakhimzhanova’s invention sprouts from aerodynamics laws. “To understand the principle of Antismog one has to understand what causes the unpleasant natural phenomenon (accumulation of smog over the city). Streams of warm air meet the cold air layer at around 200-300 meters above the ground. The cold air does not let the warm streams through and works as an inversion layer. It not only hinders smog dispersion, but also serves as a screen reflecting all the hazardous emissions generated by the city back to the ground, thus increasing their concentration. This is the same as living in a furnace without a chimney: carbon monoxide keeps coming and has no way to escape the place. The Antismog airship is called to make a hole in the inversion layer and provide an surge of fresh air for our lungs,” the architect explains.

The invention’s mechanism is based on the difference in wind speed in different atmospheric layers: the speed is greater in the upper layers than in those close to the ground. The pipe-like construction is capable of 'sucking out' the smog and bringing it outside the inversion layer. However, it is not possible to simply install a vertical pipe to make things work, because it would be too bulky and would threaten to suck people in. Rakhimzhanova invented a self-opening airship that would easily go up in the air thanks to inflatable elements filled with helium: horizontal rings or vertical arcs. Cone-shape rings have to be gradually filled with helium starting from the top one. According to the architect, the aerodynamic pipe could look like a vertical unmanned airship that would fly above the city.

The Antismog airship can be equipped with additional functions, Rakhimzhanova says: “If we apply titanium dioxide inside the airship, it will be able to destroy poisonous substances. And if this pneumatic device is complemented with a generator in the upper part of the funnel where the air stream is most intense because of the sucking effect, it will be able to generate wind and solar energy. Finally, Antismog could become a good screen for different signs, video and laser shows and light effects. By selling advertisement space, the city could compensate the costs of installation of Antismog airships.”

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