‘Ionic wind’ could power planes, save energy and fight wild weather

Airflow induced by electrical fields, referred to as ionic wind, has already propelled a small plane – now engineers suppose it might assist to ease the clean-energy transition and defend infrastructure from pure winds


6 October 2021

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THE wind is nothing if not capricious. It may be a mild breeze, making fallen leaves dance and garments flutter on the washing line. Or it may well blow a gale, tearing down timber and energy cables and inflicting all method of harm. However what if we might swap the wind on and off on the push of a button, or flip it up and down with a dial?

We’re not speaking a couple of mechanical desk fan right here. There may be, because it occurs, such a factor as electrical wind – airflow induced by electrical fields, no shifting elements required. We’ve got identified concerning the phenomenon for hundreds of years, however it’s only prior to now few years that now we have come to know electrical wind with the precision wanted to regulate it.

Now the problem is to place it to work. Engineers have already flown a easy plane pushed alongside by electrical wind. We’d
use a gentler, finely tuned breeze to assist enhance the effectivity of business processes like steel-making and to lubricate our transition to a greener vitality system. Finally, we would even use it to guard ourselves in opposition to the damaging power of pure winds too.

“Contraptions fabricated from foil and wire will hover in mid-air, supported by the electrical wind”

Electrical wind, typically known as ionic wind, was found in 1709 by Francis Hauksbee the Elder, then the curator of devices for the Royal Society of London. Hauksbee reported that he rubbed a glass tube to present it a static cost and, when he held it near his cheek, he might really feel a mild power. Isaac Newton repeated …

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