Paris, Stephen Barrett, Mongolia discussed on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory
Have Mongolian taste for milk by thirteen hundred BC in Mongolia. We already had cattle sheep and goats daring taking place these animals are not native to the region. But I that future flight like you say seventy five years or so since propellers churning the gave way to spinning turbines jet engines to propel our airplanes, well this week news of propulsion with no moving parts, it's all just electric fields and an Ionic wind. The concept has been tested on a scale model in a hangar in Boston. This inventor MIT engineer. Stephen Barrett came into the studio to tell me about the project. It's solid state electric propulsion. And that means that it's different to say electric fans where you cause an electric motor to rotate your fan. This is directly using electrical energy to here. And how does that work? We which means we strip electrons of Emily kills that makes them. Charged. And then we use an electric field to move the charged particles, whereas a normal airplane propeller one you're driving the with moving blades. This is direct electric affect exactly. So we're accelerating ions which of these charged molecules directly with an electric fields. And they collide with other Amela heels and transfer momentum to them is only a is a small one, but this is an airplane that doesn't have a visible engine on it that doesn't have an engine that you'd recognize. But it does have an array of filaments under the wings, which create the islands, then an array of thin wing like structures, which then collect the island. So there is an engine region. But it's nothing like you'd normally imagining engine looks like you got these filaments the on is. Yeah. That takes a very high voltage is that right twenty thousand volts positive, and then the the other parts these thin air falls, their minus twenty thousand volts, so forty thousand volts entitle does it. Glow. I mean, I always imagine. If you go there's a blue global. Did you get a blue glow in the darkness? You call it in the light. But maybe future big evasions. You might even see in daylight, the front end of this is the wing is it that's where you get it all iron is. And then since the airplane and pushes against those lines with the electric field across the rest of the wing. That's exactly right. And that's the kind of current setup, of course, going forward. We imagine different ways. It's might look and you've tested it on this prototype, which is how big price five meters. Wingspan two point four five kilograms and flies at five meters per second, which is walking pace or what it's more running pace running pace and her father. Did it go about sixty meters? So that was constrained by the size of the gym that we flew there. Crofton in fact, in some of the test flights were crashed the aircraft into walls into the ceiling. So definitely fly control convenient. I love the picture of this. But there must be. A motivation for me is really environmental because if you think rather long term future of aviation, we have a huge growth rate in passenger numbers doubling or tripling by twenty fifty. And if you won't have reductions in CO two emissions something like eighty percent of that timescale. That means you need something like ninety five percent reduction in the carbon intensity of air travel. So clearly any kind of conventional technology might imagine isn't gonna get anywhere close. So in principle, you could have something powered by batteries paps in the future and electric fields. And you won't get any of those exhaust pollution. You wouldn't get any direct CO two emissions. You'd obviously want to charge the batteries with clean power. You wouldn't get contrails which of these artificial clouds that created, and you wouldn't get carbon monoxide and said another emissions butts. You probably would get ozone. And that's one of the concerns with the signal the Finn Weiss at high voltages can create ozone. Sometimes you think of it as good gas because. Hi, Al she absorbs ultraviolet radiation, otherwise because skin cancer, and we need. Hi up but low down, it's bad for our health. If you breathe it in it affects your health. And so we definitely don't want to create more ozone laurel ostrich, you've got sort of a toy version of this to fly. What are the prospects for making something much heavier much bigger that can actually carry people or loads? Well, I think the prospects of making something that's perhaps ten or fifteen meters wingspan is really quite near term because that's not all that different to what will achieved already. But when you're talking about spans, a thirty or forty meters, like large commercial aircraft. That's really a very long way off. And if you think about a normal airline, it takes about ten years to build it or design and build it. So that's with conventional propulsion. So during that with something that's using propulsion. You know, nothing about we'll take much longer than ten years. So what is the next step? The next step is to try and make out what we think of as the next generation of propulsion technology by Robin. Having all these thin wires under the wings would integrate the propulsion into the skin of the aircraft. So it rolled them having a skin of an aircraft that produces drag. You're just credit flow across the skin of the aircraft. And that would be the propulsion system. In other words, no distinct propulsion system, all in the skin of the aircraft in a way sounds a bit. Like, those early biplane lots of struts and filaments all over it. How close is it to that actually is a bit like a biplane? In fact, the next design I envision would be something like a tendon biplane, so two sets of byplanes, and the reason as you said that you can put the propulsion structures between the biplane wings looks just like that. And how did you get these high talking about tens of thousands of volts? How do you even generate that on a plane? Well, that's actually one of the tricky things and lost time engineers, look Ted's Ionic wins as as this is also called in the nineteen sixties. They concluded one of the reasons you couldn't do this because it'd be impossible to generate the voltages you need in a package light enough to use on that plane, but we worked I've lost five years with electrical engineers at MIT to develop ultra lightweight. Power Electric's that converts, low voltage battery output, one hundred volts to high voltage that we need forty thousand volts, and I imagine for a long flight you can Nate need either a big battery or some way of recharging it we'd need new Bashar technologies ultimately because today's tech isn't good enough for long flights. What about having solar power photovoltaic? There is some prospect of that. And actually the way you design a first of all take plane is quite similar to the Howard electric era. Genetic plane would look because you have a very long wing that gives you a lot of area to play with for electrodynamics. So it could be a potential application would steer the same way as replaying the current version does, but some pretty direct path to getting rid of all moving surfaces like. Elevators and rudders. And instead using electric fields to shape the flow and steer the plane by shaping the flow that way, you just have manipulate the voltages on the wings manipulate revolts, and perhaps manipulated the locations which is air. So there'd be two ways to control it grand designs from Stephen Barrett from MIT's department of 'aeronautics and astronautics now from electricity defying gravity to actress ity defining well, not quite gravity that mass the source of gravity you conserve miss. The news last Friday, the experts in Paris voted to redefine the kilogram. It doesn't way any more or less your groceries shouldn't be affected, but you're grossest scales will no longer be checked against a precious. Cylinder of metal kept in a Paris volts which could in principle gain sweaty, fingerprint or lose a few atoms if scratched instead, it's weight will be compared to current in a complex electromagnetic balanced, which themselves. Can be compared to constants of nature that have remained unchanged since the dawn of time. A reporter Henry Benny went to the UK's national physical abortuaries near London where this balance was invented and the accompanied NPL's Purdy Williams and the team as they headed to Paris burying their replica of the conventional kilogram. This is kilogram. Number eighteen. It's a platinum radium cylinder. Which was given to mpn eight hundred eight nine to be used as the standard started to mass it sits in a bell jar with an air filter to try and reduce the contaminants, which get on the weights, and we are taking this kilogram to Paris. And this is the last time it's going to be calibrated before the redefinition kicks in with voting to redefining kindergarten which is insane..