Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

 
I&T Weekly holiday break
I&T Weekly is taking a holiday break. We will be back on Friday, January 12, 2018 with a fresh selection of innovation and technology news. On behalf of the entire UNU-MERIT team, we wish our readers an excellent 2018!




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All headlines
  • France announces landmark ban on fossil fuel production
  • Extreme laser bursts may lead to practical nuclear fusion
  • Gene editing staves off deafness in mice
  • Integrated circuits could make quantum computers scalable
  • 'Water cloak' uses electromagnetic waves to eliminate turbulence
  • Cold cigarette lighter will power satellite
  • Plasma jet engines that could take you from the ground to space
    Forget fuel-powered jet engines. We're on the verge of having aircraft that can fly from the ground up to the edge of space using air and electricity alone.

    Traditional jet engines create thrust by mixing compressed air with fuel and igniting it. The burning mixture expands rapidly and is blasted out of the back of the engine, pushing it forwards. Instead of fuel, plasma jet engines use electricity to generate electromagnetic fields. These compress and excite a gas into a plasma - a hot, dense ionised state similar to that inside a fusion reactor or star.

    Plasma engines have been stuck in the lab for the past decade or so. And research on them has largely been limited to the idea of propelling satellites once in space. Researchers from the Technical University of Berlin now want to fit plasma engines to planes. The challenge was to develop an air-breathing plasma propulsion engine that could be used for take-off as well as high-altitude flying.

    Plasma jet engines tend to be designed to work in a vacuum or the low pressures found high in the atmosphere, where they would need to carry a gas supply. But the team has tested one that can operate on air at a pressure of one atmosphere.

    Journal of Physics Conference Series    May 17, 2017