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Old 27th November 2018, 16:49   #1
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Default Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

Inviting the attention of TBHP community to a small, but BIG news.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated an airplane that can cruise over ground without the aid of heavy machinery, using only lithium-ion batteries and electricity to ply air quietly.


https://www.theguardian.com/science/...s-takes-flight
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Old 27th November 2018, 19:40   #2
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Default Re: Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

To take this to the next level and incorporate such technology into passenger aircraft, all we need is a giant man's muscle power for the initial thrust:

Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!-giant.jpg

On a more serious note, this is not like paper airplane or World War 2 glider (which loses altitude). From 0.15 to 0.20 seconds in the video, you will notice that this aircraft is maintaining level flight.
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Old 27th November 2018, 20:35   #3
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Default Re: Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
From 0.15 to 0.20 seconds in the video, you will notice that this aircraft is maintaining level flight.
Interesting development. I am not holding my breath for the first manned version of an aircraft operating on this principle though!

Jeroen
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Old 27th November 2018, 20:56   #4
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Default Re: Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Interesting development. I am not holding my breath for the first manned version of an aircraft operating on this principle though!
OK, but maybe this is just a Wright Brothers moment for Ionic propulsion. Some more geeky stuff on this concept:
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07411-z

Even if this tech does not have enough power to lift or provide thrust to heavy aircraft on its own, it can improve the efficiency of solar/electric aircraft that are under development.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_aircraft
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Old 27th November 2018, 20:57   #5
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Default Re: Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

A short interview with the project head:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
I am not holding my breath for the first manned version of an aircraft operating on this principle though!



On a serious note, could be very useful for drone propulsion.

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 27th November 2018 at 21:00.
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Old 28th November 2018, 13:52   #6
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Instead of planes can this propel stuff on ground, like cars or HS trains.
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Old 28th November 2018, 17:10   #7
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Default Re: Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

Disruption is probably a tall claim, the concept has been known for a century. Nonetheless, a good invention to get published in Nature.

I do feel the concept can be useful for other applications than propulsion which may evolve hereafter. May be something like an auto air sucking mosquito electrocuter.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 28th November 2018 at 17:24.
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Old 28th November 2018, 22:46   #8
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Default Re: Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

Never say never. In 1903 no one or his mother could forecast that in four and a half decades the sound barrier would be broken and the first jet airliner prototype [Comet] would be cruising at 500 mph. We don't know where this will find application. In small and micro drones we have been on the eternal search for a low powered engine without the weight of low density batteries. I wonder if it can eventually be made small enough for a 5 gramme drone.
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Old 29th November 2018, 09:26   #9
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Default Re: Engineless silent aircraft takes flight; the disruptor is here!

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Originally Posted by norhog View Post
Instead of planes can this propel stuff on ground, like cars or HS trains.
In a practical world, the ionic wind "drive", when realized, will not be suitable for ground vehicles. Theoretically it is more efficient at higher velocities and not ideal for wheeled vehicles which have more stop-go states and a rapid variations in velocities. And in the same vein, Newton's 3rd law propulsion is not an efficient way to get road vehicles going. We are better off with internal combustion engines or motors for turning our wheels unless you are trying for the land speed record.
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