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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Jets and Drones Powered by a Mighty Wind

•, by Elizabeth Palermo
 A new study by researchers at MIT suggests that ionic thrusters aren’t just for play; they also provide a super-stealth, ultra-efficient alternative to conventional atmospheric propulsion systems.

Ionic thrusters are powered by a phenomenon known as electrohydrodynamic thrust, or “ionic wind.” This wind is created when a current of electricity is passed between two electrodes- one thinner than the other.

If both the space between the electrodes and the voltage applied between the electrodes are sufficiently large, then the “ionic wind” can become a full-blown thrust, with enough power to propel an object forward without the help of a motor or fuel.

Scientists have been aware of this phenomenon since the 1960s, but because researchers believed that ionic thrusters were inefficient, they have been relegated to the realm of science fair projects and basement experiments.

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