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Re: starship-design: Kelly's new design

At 11:45 AM 7/26/96, Kevin 'Tex' Houston wrote:
>First off, I saw the new web site and it looks good.
>I was thinking about your idea to use lithium as the sail material, and I was
>wondering if you had considered the fact that lithium absorbs hydrogen?  I'm
>pretty sure that at any speed we'd be going, any hydrogen that came in contact
>with the lithium would absorb into the sail, possibly changing it's
>and other properties (such as tensile strength etc.)  This is a separate issue
>from the "erosion" problem that was identified earlier
>Kevin "Tex" Houston 	http://umn.edu/~hous0042/index.html

Thanks, glad you liked it.

Lithium absorbs H?  That has a good side to it.  Lithium is burned in a two
stage catalitic fusion reaction with hydrogen.  I was woundering about a
safe place to store it.  I never thought of just letting it combine
chemically with the lith!  :)

As to the rest.  That could cause weakening.  But the sail would only be
let out, much less under load, for the early part of the trip accelerating
out of Sol.  After that it can be pulled in and cast into a solid blockj.
If the sail wound stay strong and reflective enough for that long, we could
coat it.  The added weight should effect the performance that much.



Kelly Starks                       Internet: kgstar@most.fw.hac.com
Sr. Systems Engineer
Magnavox Electronic Systems Company
(Magnavox URL: http://www.fw.hac.com/external.html)