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hollow things

Make things hollow instead of solid
  [vote for,

It strikes me that when you look at an object you can only see the surface, you can't see the inside at all (unless you cut or break it). This suggests to me that the inside is unnecessary, supurfluous, a waste of material and a cause of unnecessary waste.

There are things which nonetheless are hollow, such as bicycle frames, scaffolding tubes, and teapots. There are different reasons for the hollowness, the teapot being hollow is more for the functionality of containing substances which does not concern us here. The scaffolding tube and the bicycle frame are hollow because it saves on material and makes them lighter than if they were solid.

However, the walls of the tubes are solid! There must be some potential for saving weight and materials here!

I remember reading that aluminium tubes e.g. as used in bicycles could be made a lot thinner than they actually are, for strength, but they would then dent very easily and crumple. The example usually given is a beer can, which is very thin-walled, and plenty strong enough, but does not crumple because it contains pressurised liquid.

So, the logical conclusion is that every device ever designed created or used could be made in an optimal state with the minimum thin-ness of material forming its surface. However, these devices would be pretty much useless because they would crumple under their own weight.

So, make the surface sealed, add a pressure valve and a pressure gauge. Now all you have to do is grab a bicycle pump or air compressor (depending on the size of your device) and pressurise the air inside before using.

This technically doesn't count as being inflatable because the pressurised air doesn't actually inflate the device, it merely prevents denting and crushing.

You probably want to keep an eye on the pressure gauge and give it a few more puffs of air every now and again to keep the pressure within design tolerances.

pocmloc, Jun 30 2020

Compressed Air Bike Frame
[xaviergisz, Jun 30 2020]

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       Interesting new failure mode for scaffolding - death by leaky poles.
pertinax, Jun 30 2020

       I assumed he meant people.
blissmiss, Jun 30 2020

       if weight is a high priority, this is already done. If it isn't then you make the object out of a low grade steel. Steel is cheap. Much cheaper than lots of things like design, engineering, thinking, effort etc. Can we get an example where making things that aren't thin and hollow, thinner and hollower would be an advantage?
bs0u0155, Jun 30 2020

       As much as I would enjoy spending a quarter of my time checking the air pressure on my fridge, printer housing, and patio door, I have other priorities.[-]
Voice, Jun 30 2020

       Could have bluetooth networked pressure gauges to send you a notification to your phone.
pocmloc, Jun 30 2020

       Have you ever designed a pressure vessel? To contain a useful pressure, it needs to be (ultimately) spherical, or at least cylindrical, with well designed ends. So for a flat surface, the interior will need to be a bunch of tubes. So MORE complex construction; maybe a bit lighter than "normal", but a lot more expensive & many many failure points.
neutrinos_shadow, Jun 30 2020

       There must be alternative geometries which map onto flat plates in Euclidean space.   

       I'm thinking of those clever joggled or angled bricks which are used to make straight window lintels.
pocmloc, Jun 30 2020

       It's looking like the future is going to blow bones.
wjt, Jul 01 2020

       Bones are hollow!
pocmloc, Jul 01 2020


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