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Old Yesterday, 02:28 AM
 
Location: PRC
2,737 posts, read 3,023,494 times
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Link to dezeen article (Nov2018)
Quote:
Engineers at the Massachusetts University of Technology have built an ion-powered plane that flies without propellers or turbines, and requires no fossil fuel.
Instead, the plane is powered by an "ionic wind", or electro-aerodynamic thrust. This comes from the movement of ions electrically charged atoms or molecules.
In a world first, the MIT team flew their plane, which has no moving parts and looks like a glider, across a 60-metre gym.
The gif they provide does not show it flying across the 60m gym, but a few yards only. This is still impressive, but hardly as dramatic as 60m.
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Old Yesterday, 01:55 PM
 
27,230 posts, read 38,468,192 times
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Looked like it was launched off the stand. There's a couple of vertical brackets it sits on that seem to propel it hard enough to glide as far as it did. Even a simple glider would go farther.

Voodoo science.
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Old Yesterday, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,730 posts, read 1,255,808 times
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Ion propulsion is extremely weak and probably has no practical use except for very, very light craft (on the order of balsa model aircraft) or in space.
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Old Yesterday, 02:56 PM
 
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Well, first of all, if you were to have an actual aircraft, you would have other moving parts for example ailerons and stabilizer surfaces. So the accurate title would be "airplane propulsion system without moving parts".


Secondly, the ramjet also has no moving parts (as far as I know) and it was invented in 1913 (per Wikipedia, so you know it's guaranteed accurate) and made practical around 1939 or so.
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Old Yesterday, 09:33 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
4,649 posts, read 2,381,080 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
Looked like it was launched off the stand. There's a couple of vertical brackets it sits on that seem to propel it hard enough to glide as far as it did. Even a simple glider would go farther.

Voodoo science.
Early technological inventions are always going to seem impractical and/or dubious.
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Old Today, 01:35 PM
 
27,230 posts, read 38,468,192 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
Early technological inventions are always going to seem impractical and/or dubious.
Very dubious when the actual propulsion seems to be a catapult. Show me the same little plane balanced on the end of a platform "flying" under it's own power off the end of it and not falling straight down.

Suspend it from a horizontal bar with string and turn it on. If it moves, okay. If not, Voodoo.
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Old Today, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
Early technological inventions are always going to seem impractical and/or dubious.
Ion propulsion is hardly new. It's been around for at least 50 years. And it was long ago discovered to have so little propulsive force that it's only good for maneuvering spacecraft. Small ones. That someone managed to make a very small, very light plane move with it doesn't really mean much.
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Old Today, 01:56 PM
 
3,779 posts, read 1,617,008 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
Early technological inventions are always going to seem impractical and/or dubious.
Yes, and some of them remain so.


For example, the human powered aircraft. It will remain a barely-achievable item only functioning at the level of expensive prototypes under perfect conditions, until someone manages to increase the long term sustainable power output of a human from 1/4HP to something more like 15 HP, or until the laws of physics change.
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Old Today, 02:09 PM
 
11,240 posts, read 3,954,461 times
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Be interesting to watch. The question is one of materials and such. Containing high voltage fields in small areas is a hard problem. That stuff gets treacherous as you get up to fields capable of accelerating the ions to suitable energy levels. I would guess however they will be able to fly small things...but can they get to propulsion densities that would support larger devices?
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Old Today, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,730 posts, read 1,255,808 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
Yes, and some of them remain so.
But... Tesla!


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