Why Airplane Windows Are Round

Flying and being thousands of feet in the air can be a thrilling experience. Well, maybe. For a lot of people, the excitement wears out really quick. Especially if you’re on an airplane with no broadband service. At that point, what do you do? Generally, you either sleep or try to look out the window. But, usually, the view isn’t great, and it’s obstructed because instead of square like your car, it’s round. Have you ever wondered why?

In 1949, de Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jetliner, flew its first flight. The idea was to revolutionize air travel with high speeds and less travel time. But, two fatal disasters in 1954 revealed major design flaws, namely the plane’s ability to withstand stress.

As a jetliner, the Comet flew at high altitudes to reduce flying costs. Higher altitudes mean lower air density and lower drag, which in turn means reduced load on the engines. But, because higher altitude also means lower air pressure, there’s a point where the cabin pressure is greater than the outside pressure of the plane. This means that the fuselage parts, or body of the plane, will expand slightly, and human passengers will feel the pressure difference. To combat that, the cabins are pressurized for normal human body functioning, and the cabin is made cylindrical so that changes in pressure are reduced and the stresses are dispersed equally. However, as the Comet showed in the 50’s, square windows don’t allow for that.

Square windows cause stresses to form at the edges. Instead of dispersing equally around the cabin, they concentrate at the window. And if left unchecked, these stresses can cause cracks and break the airplane open. On the other hand, round windows don’t restrict stress flow, and stress lines flow smoothly around it. Which is why, ever since the discovery in the 1950’s, aircraft manufacturers have used rounded window designs.

The next time you look out of an airplane window, you can rest assured that your flight will be swift and safe. At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we want to make sure that you fly safe and sound. As a premier distributor of aviation and aircraft parts and components, we make sure that we only offer the highest quality parts. For a quick quote or to learn more, visit us at www.asap-components.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.


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