Sunday, April 7, 2013

Future drones to be powered by 'Iconic Wind'

For long we have seen jets and all other aerial platforms running on fuel - which is a big source of pollution and noise.

Well that was past and is present - not the future!!

Now researchers are trying find a solution to run drones on 'Iconic Wind' with no or minimal use of fuel. A new study by researchers led by Steven Barrett, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT suggests that ionic thrusters aren't just for play; they also provide a super-stealth, ultra-efficient alternative to conventional atmospheric propulsion systems.

Ionic thrusters are powered by a phenomenon known as electro-hydro-dynamic thrust, or “ionic wind.” This wind is created when a current of electricity is passed between two electrodes- one thinner than the other.

If both the space between the electrodes and the voltage applied between the electrodes are sufficiently large, then the “ionic wind” can become a full-blown thrust, with enough power to propel an object forward without the help of a motor or fuel.

The idea of iconic wind is not new - it was floated as far back as 1960s, but was dumped as at that time researchers thought it would not be able to provide sufficient thrust. Now the study concludes that ionic wind can produce 110 newtons of thrust per kilowatt, which is significantly greater than a jet engine’s two newtons per kilowatt thrust.

However, ionic thrust has the potential to be used as a propulsion system for small, lightweight aircraft. Such a system would be particularly useful in surveillance vehicles, as ionic thrusters are both silent and invisible to infrared.

Read more about it at: Tech News
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