You might have lazily wondered at some point of your life as you sat through a flight as to why aeroplane windows are always round or slightly curved. With cars and bikes constantly improvising on their designs, why is it that aeroplanes all over the world have the same old round/curved windows?

Could there be a scientific reason behind it? Turns out there is. And the engineering behind it is awesome.

Source: flipboard

The windows weren't always round

First of all, they were not always round - planes had rectangular windows, just like the regular ones in our houses and cars.

But as aerospace engineering started making progress in technology, carrying more passengers and flying with more speed, the planes have also changed shape to increase their safety levels - including the windows.

Source: hookandloop

But the airplane crash in 1953 changed everything

Unfortunately, it took two airliner crashes before engineers realized the problems that square windows were causing. In the 1950s, when jetliners were starting to become mainstream, the de Havilland Comet came into fashion, which could go higher and faster than other air-crafts, due to a pressurized cabin. However, the plane had square windows and in 1953 two planes fell apart in the air, killing 56 people.

Did you ever think something as meager as a square window could cause an aeroplane to crash?

Source: liveracing


The science behind it is simple and the solution, brilliant

Corners are the weak spots in an aircraft. Windows, having four corners, have four potential weak spots, making them likely to crash under stress - such as air pressure.

When the window is completely round or slightly curved, the stress that would eventually crack the window corner, gets distributed and the probability of it breaking is reduced.

This video above from Real Engineering explains it.

Source: YouTube/RealEngineering

So there you go, if you sit next to a stranger on a flight the next time, and if you feel a little chatty, you know how to break the ice.