Ready to Fly silently In the Sky?- here is the world's first silent aircraft - Seeker's Thoughts

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Monday, 26 November 2018

Ready to Fly silently In the Sky?- here is the world's first silent aircraft


Introduction: - MIT Electric Aircraft Initiative
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Hollywood movies have inspired technologies, as well as the world's silent aircraft, is inspired by the movie Star Trek. Usually when an aircraft takes a flight with the help of moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades, and fans, which are powered by the combustion of fossil fuels or by battery packs that produce a persistent, whining buzz or the sound.  However, the technology  Ion Wind Propulsion made it possible to fly without sound. 
Star Trek
What exactly scientists have built?
Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US has built and flown first-ever silent aeroplane Star Trek – inspired plane with no moving parts, paving way for quieter, simpler aircraft with no combustion emissions.

About the Star Trek-inspired plane
1-     The aircraft, called Version 2 EAD airframe, or V2 weighs over two kilogram’s and has a five- meter wingspan, carries an array of thin wires, which are strung like horizontal fencing along and beneath the front end of the plane's wing.
2-    The wire act as positively charged electrodes, while similarly arranged thicker wires, running along the back end of the plane’s wing serve as negative electrodes.
3-    The fuselage (a tan compartment in front) of the plane holds a stack of lithium-polymer batteries.
4-    Unlike turbine-powered planes, the aircraft does not depend on fossil fuels to fly, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
5-    The new design is completely silent, unlike propeller-driven drones.
6-    The researchers conducted 11 test flights in which V2 flew about 200 feet (60 meters), typically flying less than 6-1/2 feet (2 meters) off the ground.
7-     The plane, defined as a solid-state machine because it has no moving parts, was built to be as possible using materials like carbon-fibre, balsa wood, a plastic called polystyrene, shrink-wrap plastic and Kevlar.

When it was identified and how?
The unmanned aeroplane powered by ion wind propulsion also called electro-aerodynamic thrust. It was first identified in the 1920s, describes a wind, or thrust, that can be produced when a current is passed between a thin and thick electrode. If enough voltage is applied, the air in between the electrodes can produce enough thrust to propel a small aircraft. MIT aerospace engineer Steven Barrett, who drew inspiration from fictional shutter craft from ‘Star Trek.’

The plane gets its thrust by ion wind propulsion how?
The power supply that would covert the batteries’ output to a sufficiently high voltage to propel the plane. In this way, the batteries supply electricity at 40,000 volts to positively charge the wire via a lightweight power converter. Once the wires are energized, they act to attract and strip away negatively charged electrons from the surrounding air molecules, like a giant magnet attracting iron filings. The air molecules that are left behind are newly ionized and are in turn attracted to the negatively charged electrodes at the back of the plane. As the newly formed cloud of ions flows towards the negatively charged wires, each ion collides million of times with other air molecules, creating a thrust that propels the aircraft forward.
Advantages of this newly designed aircraft
It has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which quieter, mechanically simpler and do not emit combustion emissions. In the near term, such an ion wind propulsion system could be used to fly less noisy drones. Moreover, ion propulsion paired with more conventional combustion systems can create more fuel-efficient, hybrid passenger planes and other large aircraft in future.
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