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  • A thermal airship is an airship that generates its lift via the difference in density due to a temperature differential between the gas inside its envelope and the ambient air. Currently most thermal airships use hot air, as used in a hot air balloon, as their lifting gas. Some airship designs that use a lighter-than-air lifting gas heat a portion of the gas, which is usually maintained in enclosed cells to gain additional lift. Heating the lifting gas causes expansion of the gas in order to further lower the density of the lifting gas, which results in greater lift. Also, an airship that uses steam would qualify as a thermal airship.

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