A plane with­out an en­gine

The Week (US) - - News -

In what could be a ma­jor break­through for aero­nau­tics, sci­en­tists have cre­ated an elec­tric air­plane with no mov­ing parts in its propul­sion sys­tem. Since the first man-made flight 115 years ago, air­craft have re­lied on pro­pel­lers, tur­bines, and other mov­ing parts to pro­pel them through the air. This new so-called solids­tate craft, de­vel­oped by sci­en­tists at the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, in­stead uses “ionic wind” tech­nol­ogy. Bat­ter­ies and a high-volt­age con­verter cre­ate an elec­tri­cal field along a se­ries of fine wires. This field knocks elec­trons from ni­tro­gen in the air, turn­ing them into charged ions. The ions then col­lide with nor­mal air mol­e­cules, creat­ing an ionic wind that’s ex­pelled from the back of the wings, gen­er­at­ing thrust. The un­manned pro­to­type craft, which has a 16-foot wing-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.