MIT develops an airplane that can fly in the sky with 'ion propeller' without using engine or propeller
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an airplane that can derive propulsive power using ionized air. It has the merit that it makes it possible to rotate the propeller or to fly without using a jet engine, resulting in almost no noise.
MIT engineers fly first-ever plane with no moving parts | MIT News
An Airplane With No Moving Parts - IEEE Spectrum
Aircraft fuselage developed by MIT's researcher team is like this. It has an appearance like an old-fashioned biplane , and in the part that looks like a wing box shape, an ion thruster that generates thrust by generating ions using high voltage is incorporated. The weight of the aircraft is limited to only 2 kg.
The appearance of this airplane flying is like this. The aircraft that was struck out of rubber catapults fly with the sweep and flew to about 60 meters ahead.
It has an output 500 watt lithium-ion battery and uses a booster to create a voltage of 20,000 volts. When applying that voltage to the electrode at the tip of the wing, nitrogen in the air ionizes and is attracted to the negative electrode at the rear. By the reaction of the accelerating motion of this ion, the propulsion force in the opposite direction is applied to the aircraft, and the aircraft can obtain the power to fly by using that force.
The history of the ion propeller itself is old, and in 1917 about 100 years ago, the first demonstration experiment in the world was done by Robert Goddard . Ion propellers have already been put to practical use in the field of space development and were adopted as a promoter of Japanese asteroid explorer " Hayabusa ".
The research to fly an airplane using the ion propeller on the ground has just begun, and there are still many studies to be done before practical application. Associate Professor Stephen Barrett of MIT said, "This aircraft is a minimal thing to demonstrate that ion airplanes can actually fly." "There are still more things to do before a really useful airplane is born. We need to be able to fly efficiently, longer and outdoors. "
The way the ion airplane is actually flying can be seen in the following movie.
Ion drive: The first flight - YouTube