Brand New Airplane With No Moving Parts Flies Thanks To Ionic Wind

Brand New Airplane With No Moving Parts Flies Thanks To Ionic Wind

Engineers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have tested a silent aircraft powered by electroaerodynamic thrust

On November 21, 2018, scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology published their results in creation a newest airplane with no moving parts and almost any noise or exhaust in the journal Nature.

Airplanes have been flying in the sky more than a century, and up to date, hardly all aircrafts have propellers, turbine blades, fans or similar moving parts powered by burning of fuels or by energy provided by a series of batteries. All existing airplanes fly with a loud buzz.

Engineers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, headed by Steven Barrett, have built and tested the airplane with no moving parts. Instead of propellers or turbines, the light aircraft is powered by an “ionic wind” also known as electroaerodynamic thrust. This physical principle was discovered in the 1920s. Ionic wind, or thrust is a silent but mighty flow of ions. It is produced when a current is passed between a thin and a thick electrode. If required voltage is applied, the air in between the electrodes can produce enough thrust to propel a small plane over a steady flight.

S. Barrett believes that in the near future the propulsion system developed can be used in drone construction making them less noisy. Moreover, such a system joint with conventional combustion systems will lead to creation more fuel-efficient, hybrid passenger planes and other large aircrafts.

“This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system,” Steven Barrett noted. “This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.”


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