FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

Airlocks in use in known space have a wide range of sizes and configurations depending on race and usage.

Amongst humans a number of standard have emerged, but variety still exists.

The iris valve is one of those types found in use for a number of applications.

Based on principles similar to an iris found in old film cameras, these are flexible space saving door types that can be quickly sealed as needed. They are round in shape, and because of this they are found typically as pressure control doors in tubular crawl spaces, in some accelerator tubes, and as part of vertical pressure hatches between desks, or to external points above or below a ship.

The are preferred for automatic controls to seal areas during decompression, being quicker to close than swing or hinged hatches. On the downside they are difficult to maintain because of the multiple pieces precision engineered pieces required to complete the lock. They are structurally strong while allowing them to be thinner than a conventional hatch if they have more ‘petals’ in the iris.

In human space the standard configurations for manned use of iris valves are 0.8, 1.8 and 2.8 metres as their open diameters.

Because of their round shape they are typically not found in horizontal hatch situations where a human would treat them as a door hatch. Their round shape necessitates a wider airlock hatch than might be needed, even if an iris valve takes up little room for opening and closing.

Categories: Starships

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