Your life depends on round airplane windows

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Airplane windows are good for more than just snapping photos from 30,000 feet.

As this video from Real Engineering explains, round airplane windows are actually a major safety innovation that keeps planes from disintegrating mid-flight

The history of the round airplane window descended from — as most great aviation innovations do — fuel efficiency. As commercial travel became more popular, airplanes started flying at higher altitudes to avoid turbulence and drag.

However, higher altitudes came with problems, like the fact human beings can’t really survive at 30,000 feet. Pressurized cabins were invented to allow passengers to, uh, live and the fuselage became cylindrical to withstand the internal pressure. As a plane increases altitude, there is less pressure on the outside of the plane, but the internal cabin pressure changes only subtly. These two differing pressure systems create a pressure difference, which causes the plane to (slightly) expand. Read more…

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