Is it possible to aircraft on the ion thrust

Is it possible to aircraft on the ion thrust
Pipe dream or a matter of time?
Imagine a very quiet aircraft that do not have emissions that are invisible to infrared sensors and air defense systems capable hang such makarom how can not even the most modern helicopters. Now imagine that the development, which allows you to find these features already used in our living rooms as air ionizers. Specifically considering this issue at the moment and engaged the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Scientists conducted a study and realized that the thrust and ion engines, which at the present time are in great enthusiasm, one day allow us to climb into the sky.

In general, the term ion engines in most cases occur in the field of cosmic developments and of cosmic ships. The mechanism of the engine, developed at NASA and other Space Agency, in fact similar. But if the ion engine is designed to work in the vacuum of space, the faster ion accelerators may one day change the aircraft engines.

If you want to see the work of ion accelerator, just glance at the least some electrostatic ionizer and air purifier. He uses an electrostatic charge to collect dust from the air molecules and keeps them on special iron plates. What does all this have to fly, you ask? It’s simple. Put your hand under the grate dust collector and you will feel a slight breeze. Taking into account that usually such dust collectors have no moving parts, it all looks amazing, is not it? Then that still makes such an effect? Ion (or electrostatic) wind.

Correct title «ionic wind» is a term effect electrohydrodynamic (EHD). And they know about it since the 18th century, when scientists found that electricity can create a little air movement. However, scientists and engineers have been able to define EHD only in the 60s of the last century. One of the pioneers in these research papers was Russian-American aviator and inventor Alexander Prokofiev-Seversky, who described the physics and the basic principles of this patented technology.

Seversky EHD used for creating, as he himself called «ionoleta» which, by the way, until now build many students and lovers of data research. It works on the principle of using negatively charged anode to charge air particles. These charged particles, or ions are directed to the positively charged cathodes. When ions move towards the cathode, they collide with air molecules and repel them, thus creating makarom ionic wind.

In such a working model «ionoleta» make the team lab MIT, narrow anode copper electrode called the «emitter». A cathode, whose role here is used duralumin tube, called the «collector». Then connect them with a very narrow scope, this design is connected to the external power supply, and construction soars. Curiously, when the voltage so «ionoletom» can even control, deploying it unfold helicopter. With all this it makes no noise. He seemed to be floating.

In 60 years’ ionolet «seemed innovation and revolution in science. Walking even debate that how it works could be used in malehankih airplanes and military affairs, because such «ionolety» did not produce heat, and they were impossible to find on radar. At one time, thanks to its own quietness «ionoletami» want to change the ordinary helicopters and even build special platform flying missile defense and monitoring traffic on the roads.

The problem was in power. Development works perfectly with malehankih models, like the one that can build up in the video, but it is not suitable for the construction of larger «ionoletov.» What to read, not even allowed to develop to carry on board its own power supply, not to mention the additional equipment. And some time later, because of the technology began to forget.

When scientists from MIT decided to come back to this issue, they found that in fact the harsh wind ion research and capacity creation engines at its base was conducted. So they decided to make an experiment in which the design of «ionoleta» served to weave current volts, which would be enough to grill everyday light bulb.

The results were extraordinary. A team of researchers found that the ion thrust was more effective in comparison, for example, with aircraft engines. While aircraft (turbojet) engines make traction in H 2 per square power ion engine was able to make 110 N per square power. Moreover, it was found that such engines are more effective for low-thrust. In other words, energy is expended in vain.

Despite this rather promising discovery, one should not expect that we can see and even fly on «ionoletah» in the not to distant future. After all, despite their effectiveness, development requests indescribable highest amount consumed for energy supply. Even to raise into the air a small plane will need megavolt energy. Because scientists have yet to solve the questions of how to stick the plane generated by the entire electrical power station.

All the same properties and characteristics of the ion engine brings us to the argument that an increase in the engines themselves, and increases the distance between the anode and cathode. Because to start from the ground «ionoletu» will need a big engine so that in fact the aerial vehicles will be located inside of the motor. This means that «ionolet» will be very huge, round, centrally located with the main deck.


Alexey Dmitriev

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