Iron Man Propulsion

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How does Iron Man flight propulsion work? It seems to be pure electrical, there are no jet fuels involved.

What devices presently being contemplated by NASA that can produce propulsion purely on electricity that doesn't rely on fuels?
 

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  • #2
phinds
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How does Iron Man flight propulsion work? It seems to be pure electrical, there are no jet fuels involved.
Then why is there flame shooting out of the bottoms of his feet?

The explanation I've heard it that it uses "repulsor technology" ... in other words, movie magic with nothing to do with physics.

What devices presently being contemplated by NASA that can produce propulsion purely on electricity that doesn't rely on fuels?
Very likely none since that would be impossible. Electricity alone would not produce any thrust. You DO I assume realize that the flying thing is a total fiction? It's great for the story but is not based on actual physics. I think one of the early comic book suits WAS based on science and used chemical thrusters but even that was ridiculous since the amount of thrust produced and the time for which it was produced was simply impossible given the size of the suit and the lack of any fuel packs on his back.
 
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Then why is there flame shooting out of the bottoms of his feet?

The explanation I've heard it that it uses "repulsor technology" ... in other words, movie magic with nothing to do with physics.

Very likely none since that would be impossible. Electricity alone would not produce any thrust. You DO I assume realize that the flying thing is a total fiction? It's great for the story but is not based on actual physics. I think one of the early comic book suits WAS based on science and used chemical thrusters but even that was ridiculous since the amount of thrust produced and the time for which it was produced was simply impossible given the size of the suit and the lack of any fuel packs on his back.

Don't forget Tony Stark is a genius.. perhaps more intelligent than Einstein. We haven't even figured out his Arc Reactor yet.. which may be based on vacuum or dark matter technology... the repulsor technology may be based on vacuum engineering... maybe Area 51 is a Tony Stark secret government facility?

Oh. What does the Marvel Universe say about Area 51?
 
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phinds
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Don't forget Tony Stark is a genius.. perhaps more intelligent than Einstein. We haven't even figured out his Arc Reactor yet.. which may be based on vacuum or dark matter technology... the repulsor technology may be based on vacuum engineering... maybe Area 51 is a Tony Stark secret government facility?
Yeah, you're probably right.
 
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Borg
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Tony Stark's Arc Reactor is an infinite power supply unless there needs to be a plot twist. :oldwink:
What devices presently being contemplated by NASA that can produce propulsion purely on electricity that doesn't rely on fuels?
Who says it has to be NASA? This relies on fuel but it's the best one I've seen in our world so far.
 
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One thought would be an Ion Thruster similar to what NASA is using to position satellites... but the energy is too small so I imagine ionizing the oxygen surrounding the thruster with microwaves might be a better solution.

Leik Myrabo of Rensselaer Polytechnic back in the late 1980's built a craft which used lasers (originally microwaves) to ionize and super heat oxygen (air) and explosively detonate below the craft which provided lift. The link below describes the technology behind it and you can also venture into Rensselaer into their archives for his advancements.

https://www.wired.com/2009/02/beamed-energy-i/
 
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How does Iron Man flight propulsion work? It seems to be pure electrical, there are no jet fuels involved.
If you want to learn about Iron Man's equipment from an in-universe perspective, you'd be better served looking elsewhere: http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Anthony_Stark_(Earth-616)#Paraphernalia
What devices presently being contemplated by NASA that can produce propulsion purely on electricity that doesn't rely on fuels?
Discussion of reactionless drives in non-fiction settings is prohibited site-wide as per the global guidelines: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/physics-forums-global-guidelines.414380/#post-3929007
 
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Drakkith
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How does Iron Man flight propulsion work? It seems to be pure electrical, there are no jet fuels involved.

Either through the fictional "repulsor" tech, or through some other fictional propulsion method. The technical details aren't usually explained very well. I know I've never seen any explanation in any of my Iron Man comic books (though I don't have more than perhaps 15 or so). There's no real comparison to real technology.

Personally I expect that they work off of a little-known technology called "plot-demandium", of which the technical profession is known as Applied Phlebotinum.

What devices presently being contemplated by NASA that can produce propulsion purely on electricity that doesn't rely on fuels?

Other than propulsion generated by sending EM radiation out the back end, none. But the thrust provided by these drives are exceedingly low. Far lower than even ion drives.
 
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Don't forget Tony Stark is a genius..

He's not a genius, he is fiction. His intelligence, and the physics he uses are purely the imagination of the writers. Comparing him to any real physicist is frankly, insulting.
 
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phinds
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He's not a genius, he is fiction. His intelligence, and the physics he uses are purely the imagination of the writers. Comparing him to any real physicist is frankly, insulting.
Keep in mind which forum this is in :smile:
 
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Keep in mind which forum this is in :smile:

There is a difference between enjoying fiction, and faulting real science for not keeping up with it. I mean:

We haven't even figured out his Arc Reactor yet..

Who is the "we" in this sentence?
 
  • #12
Aufbauwerk 2045
I know nothing about Iron Man. But about this Tony Stark. Surely he is not in the same league as Zefram Cochrane. And he was drunk much of the time.
 
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Personally I expect that they work off of a little-known technology called "plot-demandium", of which the technical profession is known as Applied Phlebotinum.

Ain't that a great site? TV Tropes, that is. They seem to have upgraded their "look" but if it's the same site I'm thinking of, it's been around some years now; beautiful explication of genres, leading to a better understanding of storytelling in general. Every fan wiki could benefit by hard-wiring a link to TV Tropes into their top level menu.
 
  • #14
The Arc Reactor is based on the Tesseract and we learned on Avengers that the Project Pegasus was studying the Dark Energy the Tesseract produces.

The easiest explanation for his propulsor would be that calling it a "repulsor" would be a better fit. Certainly he's using the Dark Energy that the Arc Reactor produces.

The Dark Energy has a repulsive force against gravity
 
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phinds
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Then why does he ran out of fuel in Avengers?o_O
It's all movie nonsense so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Also, the OP has left the building.
 
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Been decades, but I remember reading a library book on how to make your own micro-light lifters using high voltages to give 'ion streaming' at multiple points. Even crinkle-cut edges of kitchen foil. Beyond a few seconds free-flight before the sheet discharged its capacitance, arranging a light-weight charging tether to make an electric 'kite' was non-trivial.

Sorry, cannot remember title or author.
He was very, very clear, however, that this tech was 'fun stuff', relied on the atmosphere as 'fuel' and was not scalable to significant payloads. And certainly not applicable to 'serious' propulsion. If you increased voltage or power-density, you approached scary van de Graff and grid arc-over country. Don't go there...

FWIW, if any-one can identify this book, I'd be grateful. I've an abiding interest in fun electrostatics. Even if it is long, long out of print, being able to quote the book's reference would be so cool...
 

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