Friday, May 24, 2019
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

First ever 'solid state' plane takes flight

Posted on Thursday, 22 November, 2018 | Comment icon 6 comments

A still from footage of the test plane in flight. Image Credit: MIT / YouTube / Nature Video
An aircraft with no moving parts has successfully flown a distance of 60 meters using 'ionic wind' technology.
The experimental model plane, which was developed by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uses an electric field to generate charged nitrogen ions which are expelled from the back of the aircraft to produce thrust.

"I was a big fan of Star Trek, and at that point I thought that the future looked like it should be planes that fly silently, with no moving parts - and maybe have a blue glow," said lead study author Steven Barrett, an aeronautics professor at MIT.

"So I started looking into what physics might make flight with no moving parts possible."

In the future, ionic wind technology could be used to power aircraft that are much cleaner and quieter than those with conventional propulsion systems.

"It's clearly very early days: but the team at MIT have done something we never previously knew was possible in using accelerated ionised gas to propel an aircraft," said Professor Guy Gratton.

"Aeronautical engineers around the world are already trying hard to find ways to use electric propulsion, and this technology will offer something else that in the future may allow manned and unmanned aircraft to be more efficient, and non-polluting."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (6)

Tags: Ionic Wind, Plane

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by RoofGardener on 22 November, 2018, 12:59
I'm guessing this uses the same principle as the Dyson Air Multiplier fan ?   
Comment icon #2 Posted by Gecks on 22 November, 2018, 23:14
Presuming his technology can be upscaled... to what degree I dont know. But Im guessing you will need a system to launch the craft. Perhaps a giant sling shot angry birds style. But then you need to slow it and stop it as well.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog on 22 November, 2018, 23:32
Interesting stuff, don't know the trust/weight ratio for now but it look pretty low, lol. But everything need to start somewhere !
Comment icon #4 Posted by BorizBadinov on 23 November, 2018, 20:05
This has been mulled about for quite some time. The problem has always been weight of the power source was greater than lift capacity. There were flyers built but always tethered to a ground based power source. This is quite interesting, but the question indeed is will it scale enough to be used effectively?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nzo on 26 November, 2018, 10:22
That is just fascinating stuff! Now all they have to do is get a 20 million dollar grant to come up with a super powerful solid state thruster. Maybe have multiple points on a radial axes that funnels the air from low compression to higher compression like a jet engine? It cant be to difficult for those geniuses at MIT! BEEF it up and see how much thrust can be generated. This is research I love. It takes what we know and applies it.  I hope they see the efficacy of this research and someone who is competent continues the research and gets grants for it.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Ozymandias on 26 November, 2018, 13:16
Theoretically interesting, but not practical. This experimental model plane was launched off a ramp and while it is true that it did move at something like 17 km/hr for over 50m using an 'ionic wind'  and an initial momentum off the ramp, this level of thrust is not anywhere sufficient to generate the amount of lift needed to get a substantially larger craft into the air and keep it there. All aircraft  need a minimum velocity of air flow over an aerofoil - their wings - to cancel their own weight under gravity and keep them aloft. This model could not keep itself aloft and did not perform muc... [More]

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:


German tourists try to lure Nessie with Haribo
A bizarre new trend has seen tourists throwing Haribo sweets in to Loch Ness to try and lure the monster.
$3,000 prize offered for remote viewing research
The prize will be awarded to the best 'research proposal investigating some aspect of remote viewing.'
'Psychics' swindle lawyer out of $1.5 million
Police in Las Vegas have made two arrests in connection with a lengthy scam involving bogus psychic services.
Academic: 'aliens are interbreeding with us'
Oxford academic Dr Young-hae Chi claims that humanity has been having some very close encounters indeed.
Stories & Experiences
Crashed UFO off Gig Harbor Wa.
5-15-2019 | Gig Harbor Wa.
My enlightenment
5-12-2019 | Sacramento, California
I was bitten by a ghost
5-11-2019 | Virginia
Giant bird shadows
4-21-2019 | Hammond Indiana
Winter solstice hooded figures
3-6-2019 | Decatur, IL
My skinless demon
2-8-2019 | Michigan
Johannesburg Men in Black
1-2-2019 | Johannesburg South Africa
Giant flash of light
1-2-2019 | Pomona, California

         More stories | Send us your story
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
What happens when lava meets ice ?
Posted 5-18-2019 | 1 comment
This intriguing experiment reveals just what happens when you pour lava on to ice.
7 ghost stories from the Queen Mary
Posted 5-10-2019 | 2 comments
A look at some creepy tales of ghosts and hauntings from the retired ocean liner.
Could Jack have survived 'Titanic' ?
Posted 5-2-2019 | 2 comments
The MythBusters investigate whether or not both Jack and Rose could have survived the movie.
 View: More videos
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 (c) 2001-2019
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ