Vehicles that seem to float in the air powered only by blue flashes of unknown origin and technology that only in movies or science fiction like Star Trek we are used to seeing. Maybe they will not have arrived at this level yet, but a group of MIT researchers has devised a prototype that can fly thanks to ionic thrusters and without the use of fuel.
Scientists have taken a big step towards creating a non-fueled plane. The research is the result of years of study by a group of researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) led by Steven Barret, who created a prototype of an "electro-aerodynamic" power aircraft using an "ionic propeller" and therefore without propellers or jet engines.
From 2016 to 2018 a wing prototype of 5 meters was created with a weight of about 2.45 kg, the peculiarity is all in the wings that are the real technological find. All the wing surface is crossed by thin electrodes: in the front there are wires loaded with 20,000 positive volts, while in the rear there is a small aerodynamic profile loaded with 20,000 volts negative.
The basic idea is to create a strong electric field between the front and back of the wing that ionizes the air, accelerating it and producing an ionic wind that generates lift. Spelled out in simple terms is the same principle that happens when we rub a balloon over someone's head! Obviously, reproducing everything on a real prototype is much more complicated than a balloon! During the 10 test flights the model aircraft was able to fly for about 60 meters in 12 seconds, within an enclosed space with a thrust efficiency of around 2.6%.
According to the calculations the efficiency is directly proportional to the speed reached (as in the current aircraft) and at a speed of about 1080 Km / h it would reach a value of about 50%. The concept developed by MIT and Steven Barret is technically similar to the propulsors used on vehicles operating in space. The only difference is that in the latter ionization occurs through the combustion of a propellant that produces thrust, while the prototype developed by MIT does not require any type of fuel. What you need at the moment are just thin cables and a rechargeable lithium battery!