Inspiration from Star Trek
As a kid, Stephen Barrett, associate professor of aerospace engineering MIT, Will watch the movie and TV series “Star Trek” during his free time.His young eyes Shuttlecraft, Very futuristic and dystopian, they glide the horizon at lightning speed. Barrett noticed that these spacecraft were frameless, had no moving parts such as propellers, and appeared noise-free. Such observations still affect him today, saying that in the long run, the plane should be stripped of turbines and propellers and look like a “Star Trek” shuttlecraft in shining light. He is thinking. At MIT, the professor did just that.
Barrett’s MIT engineers have introduced the world’s first plan, which uses no propellers or turbines and no moving parts. Lightweight aircraft rely on the “ion wind”, the abundant flow of ions produced on board an airplane, to generate enough force to thrust the airplane in a stable and sustained flight. With this concept and design, the plane will stop using fossil fuels and add quiet gliding.
Image by Christine y.he
Go through the design
As the professor said On the university’s official news site, he explains that the plane is the first sustained flight with no moving parts in the propulsion system. ‘This opens up new unexplored possibilities for aircraft that are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion gases.‘ The design weighs about 5 pounds and has a wingspan of 5 meters attached to a thin wire that resembles a fence. These wires act as positively charged electrodes, while similarly placed thick wires run along the rear end of the wing of the plane and act as negative electrodes.
The fuselage of the airplane holds a stack of lithium polymer batteries. Barrett’s ion plane team, including members of Professor David Perrault’s Power Electronics Research Group at the Research Institute of Electronics, designed a power supply that converts the output of the battery to a sufficiently high voltage to propel the plane. In this way, the battery is powered by 40,000 volts and positively charges the wire through a lightweight power converter.
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Ionic wind as a core
About nine years ago, Barrett began to consider designing a propulsion system for an airplane without moving parts. He invented the “ion wind” (also known as electric aerodynamic thrust). This is a physical principle that describes the wind or thrust that can occur when an electric current flows between thin and thick electrodes. When sufficient voltage is applied, the air between the electrodes can generate enough thrust to propel a small aircraft, but not enough ion wind to propel a large aircraft in sustained flight. It was primarily supposed to be possible.
The team, including Lincoln Institute staff Thomas Sebastian and Mark Woolston, flew on multiple test flights across the gymnasium of MIT’s DuPont Athletic Center, where the plane flew 60 meters, the maximum distance of the gym. The plane that flew and witnessed it produced enough ion thrust to sustain the flight forever. They made 10 flights with similar performance and results.
It embodies the principle of electric aerodynamics
Airplanes have no moving parts such as propellers or turbines
The wire acts as a positively charged electrode
The aircraft made its first flight
name: Ion-style aircraft
Principal Investigator: Professor Stephen Barrett
team: Professor David Perot Research Group, Thomas Sebastian, Mark Woolston
Matthew Burgos | Designboom
March 12, 2022