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Ion drive

  1. Jul 10, 2006 #1
    i have had an idea for a few years and am finally starting to go forward with it.. i need to know if it is possible to build an ion propulsion unit at home. being that it is on the earth and not in space does it need a defuser? can it be made to run on 110v? i dont need it huge to start. i just need something to work with and the ionic breeze air purifier i have just isnt gonna cut it. need more thrust. if i can get any help with this i would realy appreciate it.
     
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  3. Jul 10, 2006 #2

    Astronuc

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    This thread discusses one of the more advanced ion propulsion devices.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=108685

    In general ion thrusters operate in the kV range, so one would have to step up 110V. The other part is the power, e.g. 10-30 kW.

    The type of ions, e.g. H, Li, Cs, Na, K, Hg, Xe, . . . is an important factor. An an important part is the ion source, then the accelerating field, and final the neutralization step.

    There are a few more resources here: Electric / Ion Propulsion
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2006
  4. Jul 10, 2006 #3

    russ_watters

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    And then there is the thrust - currently, they aren't capable of more than a few ounces of thrust, if even that. I think I read that the thrust of DS1's engine is about equal to the weight of a piece of paper.

    And I'm not sure what you are talking about with the Ionic Breeze Air purifier - it uses a fan to push the air and just captures dust on charged plates.
     
  5. Jul 10, 2006 #4

    Danger

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    I hate to be a party-pooper, airtime, but you'd probably get more thrust out of that fan than you would from any ionic drive that you could build at home. As the others pointed out, the thrust of even the best units is miniscule. The whole point of them is to deliver a tiny amount of push over a very long period of time to build up speed. Their efficiency is excellent; their power is not.
     
  6. Jul 11, 2006 #5
    wow thanks guys. i followed some of the links and realy appreciate the info :)
     
  7. Jul 11, 2006 #6

    Danger

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    You're more than welcome. Now... as long as you're ramped up for the high-voltage stuff anyhow, you might as well build yourself a rail-gun. :biggrin:
     
  8. Jul 11, 2006 #7

    NoTime

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    AFAIK these don't use a fan. It ionizes the air. The ions are then attracted to the other electrode causing airflow.

    About 40 years ago one of the electronic magazines published construction plans for a flyer using this effect.

    That was before lawyers.
    It required a 40kv power source to make it go. :surprised
     
  9. Jul 11, 2006 #8

    Danger

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    Sounds like the ex-from-hell. :grumpy:
     
  10. Jul 12, 2006 #9

    NoTime

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    The ceiling, the ceiling is beige!:yuck:
     
  11. Jul 12, 2006 #10

    russ_watters

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    Heh - seems you're right. I know about the effect, but it uses an enormous amount of energy to create a tiny amount of thrust and when I see an "effect" patented instead of published, it sets off my crackpot alarm. I can't imagine these things would be that effective.
    http://www.sharperimage.com/us/en/catalog/productview/sku__SI837GRY
     
  12. Jul 12, 2006 #11

    NoTime

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    Patented?
    How did they get that by the prior art clause?
    I would have to say both the moving air effect and electostatic air cleaning are well known.
    Using the combination probably makes it efficient enough since any electrostatic cleaner need to ionize the air anyway.

    Having seen one, I have to agree about the effectiveness. Not enough air volume or collector surface to make much, if any, difference.
     
  13. Jul 12, 2006 #12

    russ_watters

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    http://www.consumersearch.com/www/house_and_home/air-purifiers/index.html
    Conclusion: low airflow. I wonder - is the tower design on purpose? Perhaps the 10w that this unit uses produces just enough heat to provide a little convection?

    Anyway, now the funny part:
    If you don't like the results of the test, sue the person who tested it! IMO, they got off easy - if the suit had no been thrown out, the court would have had to actually evaluate the research. And that means the Consumer reports tests would have been endorsed the courts.
     
  14. Jul 12, 2006 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    A couple of years ago a friend called and asked about the ionic breeze units. It was immediately apparent that the the IB people weren't very proud of the volumetric airflow since the data couldn't be found. :rolleyes:

    I once made a ~25KV speaker that produced sound by oscillating ionized air with an electric field. It worked, sort of... That was the time I took 25KV right up the nose. :surprised
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  15. Jul 12, 2006 #14

    Astronuc

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    And since then, you've learned to keep your nose an appropriate distance from things electrical. :rolleyes: :biggrin:
     
  16. Jul 12, 2006 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yep, that one hurt. I was trying to listen and didn't realize that I was so close to the HV capacitor leads.

    Not bad though really; I think this was the one and only hit in thirty years of work and screwing around [not counting Tesla coils etc which were intentional hits]. I've had a couple of close calls with 480VAC but didn't actually carry any current.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  17. Jul 12, 2006 #16

    NateTG

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    The lifters (foil triangle gizmos) are essentially ionic jets.
     
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