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Steven Barrett, et al.
Ionoplane


Related: DeSeversky : Ionocraft -- Decades earlier...







https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6414605/Revolutionary-Star-trek-inspired-ion-propulsion-plane-engine-unveiled-time.html

A new generation of flight: Revolutionary Star-trek inspired 'ion propulsion' plane engine with no moving parts is unveiled by MIT researchers (and it actually flies)
The five metre (16ft) wingspan glider-like plane has no moving parts
An 'ionic wind' of colliding electrically charged air molecules provides the thrust
It could prove to be the future of air travel, bringing an end to the noise
Unlike other planes, it also produces no greenhouse gases or other pollutants
A revolutionary electronic aircraft propulsion system inspired by Star Trek has been tested on a working model for the first time.

The five metre (16ft) wingspan glider-like plane has no propellers, turbines or any other moving parts, and is completely silent.

Instead, an 'ionic wind' of colliding electrically charged air molecules provides the thrust needed to make it fly.

It could eventually prove to be the future of air travel, bringing an end to the noise nightmare of living under a flight path or close to a major airport.

And unlike conventional planes, it also produces no greenhouse gases or other pollutants.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The test aircraft carries an array of thin wires strung beneath the front end of its wings.

These wires, which carry a positive charge of 20,000 volts, strips electrons, which have a negative charge, from air molecules.

The cloud of positively charged molecules left behind rush towards negatively charged wires at the back of the plane.

As they flow towards the negative charge, the ions collide millions of times with other air molecules, creating the thrust that pushes the aircraft forward.

One of the biggest challenges was designing a power supply that would generate 40,000 volts from the plane's battery output.

The team is working on ways of producing more ionic wind with less voltage.

In the tests, the battery-powered unmanned aircraft, that weighs just five pounds, managed sustained flights of 60 metres (197ft) at an average height of just 0.47 metres (18 inches).

But its inventors believe that, like the early experiments of the Wright brothers more than 100 years ago, such small beginnings will eventually transform the face of aviation.

In the near future, ion wind propulsion could be employed to power quiet drones, the team predicts.

Further down the line, the technology could be paired with more conventional propulsion systems to produce highly fuel efficient hybrid passenger planes.

Lead researcher Dr Steven Barrett, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, said: 'This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system.

'This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.'

He revealed that he was partly inspired by the TV sci-fi series Star Trek, which he watched avidly as a child.

He was especially impressed by the show's futuristic shuttle crafts that skimmed through the air producing hardly any noise or exhaust.

'This made me think, in the long-term future, planes shouldn't have propellers and turbines,' said Dr Barrett.

The five metre (16ft) wingspan glider-like plane has no propellers, turbines or any other moving parts, and is completely silent. Instead, an 'ionic wind' of colliding electrically charged air molecules provides the thrust needed to make it fly

The test aircraft carries an array of thin wires strung beneath the front end of its wings. These wires strip electrons, which have a negative charge, from air molecules

'They should be more like the shuttles in Star Trek that have just a blue glow and silently glide.'

The test aircraft, described in the journal Nature, carries an array of thin wires strung beneath the front end of its wings.

These wires, which carry a positive charge of 20,000 volts, strips electrons, which have a negative charge, from air molecules.

The cloud of positively charged molecules left behind rush towards negatively charged wires at the back of the plane.

As they flow towards the negative charge, the ions collide millions of times with other air molecules, creating the thrust that pushes the aircraft forward.

The test aircraft, described in the journal Nature, carries an array of thin wires strung beneath the front end of its wings. These wires, which carry a positive charge of 20,000 volts, strips electrons, which have a negative charge, from air molecules

The cloud of positively charged molecules left behind rush towards negatively charged wires at the back of the plane

It could eventually prove to be the future of air travel, bringing an end to the noise nightmare of living under a flight path or close to a major airport. And unlike conventional planes, it also produces no greenhouse gases or other pollutants

In the tests, the battery-powered unmanned aircraft, that weighs just five pounds, managed sustained flights of 60 metres (197ft) at an average height of just 0.47 metres (18 inches)

One of the biggest challenges was designing a power supply that would generate 40,000 volts from the plane's battery output.

The team is working on ways of producing more ionic wind with less voltage.

Test flights were made across the gymnasium at MIT's duPont Athletic Centre, the largest indoor space the scientists could find.

Dr Barrett said: 'It took a long time to get here. Going from the basic principle to something that actually flies was a long journey of characterising the physics, then coming up with the design and making it work.

'Now the possibilities for this kind of propulsion system are viable.'



https://news.mit.edu/2018/first-ionic-wind-plane-no-moving-parts-1121

ionoplane1
ionoplane


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boB6qu5dcCw
Ion drive: The first flight

Researchers from MIT have flown a plane without moving parts for the first time. It is powered by an ‘ion drive’ which uses high powered electrodes to ionise and accelerate air particles, creating an ‘ionic wind’. This wind drove a 5m wide craft across a sports hall. Unlike the ion drives which have powered space craft for decades, this new drive uses air as the accelerant. The researchers say it could power silent drones.

ionoplaneflight1


ionoplane



https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0707-9
Nature, volume 563, pages532–535 (2018)
Flight of an aeroplane with solid-state propulsion
Haofeng Xu, et al.
Abstract
Since the first aeroplane flight more than 100 years ago, aeroplanes have been propelled using moving surfaces such as propellers and turbines. Most have been powered by fossil-fuel combustion. Electroaerodynamics, in which electrical forces accelerate ions in a fluid1,2, has been proposed as an alternative method of propelling aeroplanes—without moving parts, nearly silently and without combustion emissions3,4,5,6. However, no aeroplane with such a solid-state propulsion system has yet flown. Here we demonstrate that a solid-state propulsion system can sustain powered flight, by designing and flying an electroaerodynamically propelled heavier-than-air aeroplane. We flew a fixed-wing aeroplane with a five-metre wingspan ten times and showed that it achieved steady-level flight. All batteries and power systems, including a specifically developed ultralight high-voltage (40-kilovolt) power converter, were carried on-board. We show that conventionally accepted limitations in thrust-to-power ratio and thrust density4,6,7, which were previously thought to make electroaerodynamics unfeasible as a method of aeroplane propulsion, are surmountable. We provide a proof of concept for electroaerodynamic aeroplane propulsion, opening up possibilities for aircraft and aerodynamic devices that are quieter, mechanically simpler and do not emit combustion emissions.



https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07477-9
Editorial -- First flight of ion-drive aircraft

A remarkable machine propelled by ionic wind could signal a future with cleaner aeroplanes.



http://doi.org/10.1109/COMPEL.2017.8013315 (IEEE, 2017)

Design and implementation of a lightweight high-voltage power converter for electro-aerodynamic propulsion. In IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics
He, Y., Woolston, M. R. & Perreault, D. J.

Abstract:
Recent studies in electro-aerodynamic (EAD) propulsion have stimulated the need for lightweight power converters providing outputs at tens of kilovolts and hundreds of watts. This paper demonstrates a design of a lightweight high-voltage converter operating from a 160-200 V dc input and providing dc output of up to 600 W at 40 kV. It operates at around 500 kHz and achieves a specific power of 1.2 kW/kg. This is considerably lighter than comparable industrial and academic designs at this power level. High voltage converters generally comprise an inverter, a step-up transformer and a rectifier, with the large needed voltage gain distributed among these stages. Several means of realizing these stages are compared in terms of weight. The weight of the converter is minimized by properly selecting and optimizing the design and the voltage gain of each stage within the constraints of device limitations and losses. A prototype circuit is developed based on this approach and used to drive an EAD-propulsion system for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In addition to addressing the power conversion needs for EAD, this research can potentially benefit the development of lightweight high-voltage converters in many other applications where weight and size are important.



WO2018160962
VARIABLE INVERTER-RECTIFIER-TRANSFORMER
Inventor: PERREAULT DAVID, et al.
Applicant: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECH

US2018102644
Coupled Split Path Power Conversion Architecture

US2017373609
High-Frequency Variable Load Inverter and Related Techniques





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