Extreme heat/plasma thruster

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Main Question or Discussion Point

My knowledge suggests when gasses are heated rapidly, they also expand due to the new energy in the gas.

Is it possible to create a thruster that is able to lift 10kg via electric heating?

The thruster would allow cold air to enter the chamber, where it would then be super-heated & ejected as thrust through a valve.

Let's say the thruster weighs 5kg & it must lift 10kg. Is this possible? i
 

Answers and Replies

russ_watters
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What you describe is basically an electrically powered jet engine. It's probably possible, but I don't think it has been done before.
 
berkeman
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Yeah, it would be a fun exercise to calculate the amount of thrust you could get with such an electric super-heater, versus using the same amount of electricity to drive an electric motor and propeller arrangement...
 
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Yeah, it would be a fun exercise to calculate the amount of thrust you could get with such an electric super-heater, versus using the same amount of electricity to drive an electric motor and propeller arrangement...
Hahaha I'm not sure if that was sarcastic, but I would like to find out.
 
berkeman
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Hahaha I'm not sure if that was sarcastic, but I would like to find out.
No, not meant as sarcasm at all. I'd suspect that the efficiency of the motor+propeller would be much higher, but you'd need to do the calculations to find out for sure.
 
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No, not meant as sarcasm at all. I'd suspect that the efficiency of the motor+propeller would be much higher, but you'd need to do the calculations to find out for sure.
Well I was thinking of a hybrid concept which uses a propeller/turbine to drive in air through a valve, which would then super-heat the gas & exhaust it.
 
russ_watters
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Well I was thinking of a hybrid concept which uses a propeller/turbine to drive in air through a valve, which would then super-heat the gas & exhaust it.
The propeller/compressor is before the combusion/heating section and the turbine has to be after combustion/heating section. It's a jet engine.
 
etudiant
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NASA has done work on engines using alternative heat sources. A most interesting application was in aircraft using laser beams from solar power satellites as the heat source for the engine.
The work was summarized in a NASA symposium on radiant energy conversion in space, which sketched out aircraft concepts using space laser power for essentially unlimited range/endurance.
 

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