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Ionic Squall Engine

Airline engines running on expensive Sharper Image product.
  [vote for,

Okay, the Ionic Breeze by Sharper Image is a device, but it can do more. This is years away from implementation, but it is perfectly feasable. The Ionic Breeze uses charged plates to suck air through (and seperate dust and dirt in the process, but we'll get to that), so why can't it be used as a replacment for traditional airline engines. Use the principle to force air through a tube, and throw out the JP-5. You'd have to cycle the engines on long trips so you could use a reverse charge to make all the dirt and grim that would attach itself fly off, but other than that it would allow for uninterupted flight. If you covered the fuselage with solar cells, you could stay up indefinatly. It's faster than a prop, and would still allow for supersonic flight. An intermediate step would mate a jet turbine with a sort of ionic afterburner, further accelerating the air, so you could run the engine at lower speeds, using less fuel.

You could, of course, use the concept on any number of vehicles, but commercial airplanes seem a perfect application.

eion, Apr 01 2003

The Ionocraft http://www.geocitie.../Hall/1805/ion.html
Popular Mechanics - August 1964 [ldischler, Oct 04 2004]


       Do you work for Sharper Image, perchance? As far as I can tell, the product doesn't even do such a good job cleaning the air.
pluterday, Apr 01 2003

       Nice idea, but have you felt the breeze coming out of one of those things? Pales against a regular fan's output, and clearly insufficient to power anything heftier than a microlite, and quite inadequate for lifting their own weight.   

       Btw, my quibble with ionic breeze devices is that they all throw off ozone, which is poisonous.
DrCurry, Apr 01 2003

       Shotgun responses:   

       pluterday: nope. I'd buy one to look cool, but I don't find 5 payments of 69.95 easy.   

       DrCurry: maybe today, tommorow may be another story. Thanks for mentioning the ozone, now I can sell it on another point: cures global warming, a problem spread in large part to commercial airlines.   

       Mr Burns: think covering the whole wing replace the vast wing tanks with engines.   

       Yeah, I know it's cornball, but imagine Sharper Image toppling Boeing and Royles Royce in 50 years.
eion, Apr 01 2003

       I don't think an array of photocells the size of the upper surfaces on an aircraft would produce even a measurable fraction of the amount of power needed to fly with electric fanjets.   

       <aside>Is ozone intrinsically toxic or does it merely displace oxygen?
bristolz, Apr 01 2003

       Intrinsically toxic. (If I remember Third Year Chemistry, it binds to hemoglobin and prevents it from picking up regular oxygen.)   

       eion: replenishing the ozone layer is a separate idea that we've done two or three times already. Rolls Royce (note spelling) was toppled years ago. To make this work, you need to postulate a much lighter, much more effective ionic array. While that may be developed sometime in the unforeseeable future, it's kinda general purpose scientific magic to suppose it right now.
DrCurry, Apr 01 2003

bristolz, Apr 01 2003

       Seems odd that a company would be allowed to market a product for indoor use that produces an intrinsically toxic (and highly so) substance.
waugsqueke, Apr 01 2003

       That's what the box says; just smell any unit in the store (ozone is a very distinctive smell; you sometimes get it coming off laser printers).
DrCurry, Apr 01 2003

       Dr Curry, I have to pick on your assertion that:

//Rolls Royce was toppled years ago//

They may have had a rough patch in the 70s but I think they are still reasonably successful at making aero-engines (Currently #2).
Gordon Comstock, Apr 02 2003

       Lockheed went to congress and arranged for a $250 million US gov't loan to bail out Rolls Royce.
bristolz, Apr 02 2003

       Lockheed did that? Curse 'em, they should be buying from GE and P&W. What happened to favoritism and the military industrial complex? Where's their sense of patriotism???
Madcat, Apr 02 2003

       This is essentially an air breating ion engine. Unfortunately, ion engines work because they function in space, don't have to lift themselves all the way out of the gravity well. An I-E that powerful would be many orders of magnitude stronger than anything made before. Nevertheless, I'm voting for this idea because it's a pretty good halfbaked scheme.
Madcat, Apr 02 2003

       They were trying to save the L-1011 which relied on the Rolls RB-211 engine for its viability.   

       The significant element behind the bankruptcy is very interesting and has to do with chickens, in a way. Maybe some other time.
bristolz, Apr 02 2003

       Interesting, do enlighten us.
Madcat, Apr 04 2003

       [I may not have every fact exactly right because it has been several years since this story was recounted to me but, in general, it's authentic.]   

       Once upon a time Rolls-Royce set out to build a turbofan that was different from all the rest. They called it the RB-211 because that was its name.   

       The engine was designed to use laminated composite compressor blades as opposed to the typical metallic blades in common fanjet use at the time (early 70s). This was a risky design decision as composites were unproven materials in a jet engine but, in order to meet the desired thrust-to-weight ratio and configuration requirements of the then on-the-drawingboard Lockheed L-1011 trijet, composites were deemed necessary.   

       The exposed surface of the bypass section of this new design was so large that it was reasoned that there was a substantial increase in the risk of the engine ingesting materials and it was feared that, in the instance of a foreign object being sucked in, a metallic blade, due its unusual length, would be too ductile and cause a domino effect destruction of other blades--a catastrophic failure. Composites on the other hand wouldn't deform as readily and, it was reasoned, in extreme cases would just break off cleanly, minimizing damage from a strike.   

       A series of early tests of the engine, including high-speed bird ingestion tests, were encouraging and, with each successful test, Rolls-Royce upped the financial stakes in the engine's development.   

       Meanwhile, in a large field near Arlington, Washington, a test engineer was putting the finishing touches on a refined version of a piece of test equipment known as the pneumatic chicken cannon.   

       <to be continued>
bristolz, Apr 04 2003

       Did it have a tendency to get bird indigestion?
FarmerJohn, Apr 04 2003

       Nice Idea, but the thrust to electrical power ratio required to lift an aircraft using ions would require a form of energy generation equal or better than hot fusion!.   

       As current thinking implies that you need a large torus ring made of concrete/titanium plus several support buildings to produce fusion, I suspect you will never be able to generate enough power to lift the engine let alone the craft. The weight to power ratio is just too much. Mind you it would (does already) work in space.   

       (BTW ion engines and ion air movers were not invented by Sharper image. They date back to the 40's & 50s ( I know BAE did specific research on 'ion fans' years ago).   

       Ozone is toxic but also corrosive pumping it into your home 24/7 is not a good idea.
Lunartick, Apr 04 2003

       See the link to the Ionocraft above...
ldischler, Apr 04 2003

       ever heard of the lifter project, It pretty much what you are talking about.   

SaintProton, Jan 16 2004

       I have build and flown on of these lifters, they claim to use the Towsend-Brown Effect along with Ionic wind. Seversky was the first one to create one of these, Jnaudin copyed his design.
SaintProton, Jan 16 2004

       Power requirements are not really extravagant if you can overcome one tiny fact: the air conducts electric charge off the metal plates. Argh! if this could be prevented or lessened, then one could theoretically charge up a device with, say, 2000 coulombs of charge (if you were to touch this thing, you'd have about a million amperes flow through your body for about a thousandth of a second, resistively heating you into a ball of carbon plasma) and just let her go indefinitely until some poor chicken flew into the intake and came out as dinner. I'm working on a device, however, that uses much lower charge densities which does NOT use an ion wind effect to any great degree. Pretty much, imagine a white skittle. Now make it 10 meters wide, and about three meters tall for a five passenger craft... *cloudy dream sequence transition* "Welcome to Cydonia reigonal spaceport, the Earth return shuttle will be leaving at 4:30 this afternoon, to arrive at earth approximately 6:30 P.M. EST. Enjoy your stay, and thank you for flying United."   

       The device i have invented works quite well, but the kicker is that the force it produces is directly proportional to the mass of the electrons contained within the device. As your speed increases, one's effective mass increases, and it is theorized that nearing the speed of light, one's propulsive force would be increasing geometrically, if not logarithmically, possibly parallel to the einstein limit. Without building a full-up prototype (current plans for a $10,000 one meter "Electric Skittle" are 50% under-funded at this point) we will not know how far this mass-force coupling will take us, or if it in fact exists beyond theory. Anyhow, just thought i'd drop in my two cents worth.   

       Ah, yes, the problem with st. elmo's fire, or the electron conduction deal, can be solved with some High K coatings. Beryllium Dioxide, i believe is a very good dielectric. I.E. it doesn't allow a current to flow readily, however it admits electric fields as though it weren't even there. Think of a membrane that transmits pressure, but not fluid. However, alternating currents can pass through as though it were a conductor. ;-)   

       Later all, Orionblade
orionblade2003, Jul 10 2004

       sorry, on last note to DrCurry... the half life of ozone is insanely short. It does not bind to hemoglobin and displace regular oxygen. It IS regular oxygen as soon as it binds to anything. The bond angles change once it attaches to anything else, and you get a free oxygen atom and a plain jane oxygen molecule. However, due to it's charge, it is an excellent inhibitor of microbe growth, breaking down microbes and inhibiting their growth/reproduction, which is why the ionic breeze (well, not the sharper image one, but similar devices) is used in clean room environments and in many areas to destroy microbes. UV light generates ozone, which is why you'll see ultraviolet lamps in hospitals and behind counters of fast food places like SubWay. You don't think the UV light somehow penetrates glass sneeze covers and stainless steel refrigerators conveniently placed in front of the lights, do you? No, it simply creates a limited amount of ozone, and the air passing over the UV light directly is presented with enough radiation to kill most of the airborne bacteria thereby exposed. If ozone is really that toxic to humans, then i think we'd have welders dropping dead left and right (in the shop from acute poisoning) than we do now. Welder's lung aside (metal vapor deposition onto living tissue---yeeks! wear a mask while y'all are building your stirling engines!)   

       hang tough guys, Rion
orionblade2003, Jul 10 2004

       It's that free oxygen atom, now attached to whatever substrate the molecule collided with, that makes ozone both toxic and bacteriocidal. However, being oxygen breathing creatures and thus needing oxygen in all cells at all times, ve have vays of dealink vis these oxygen radicals and other ROS(reactive oxygen species). These methods are limited however, and oxygen radicals are so reactive that they will bind to pretty much anything- DNA, protein, whatever. The anaerobic bacteria are completely unprotected.   

       P.S. Carbon monoxide bonds irreversibly to hemoglobin, not ozone.
GutPunchLullabies, Jul 10 2004


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