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Magnetohydrodynamics Propulsion

  • Thread starter Avaro667
  • Start date
17
3
Hey guys.
I wanted to ask your opinion about something . I'm interested in MHD propulsion and
i know so far that has been inefficient against the usual propulsion systems up to today. Do you think it worths someone getting deeper into it ?
I'm thinking how awesome would a practical implementation be . I know MIT achieved something similar but with electrohydrodynamics instead,which also i find fascinating .

What kind of physics courses would i need to take so i could in future help advance technologies of this field ?
I am aware that any meaningful result-as any great human achievement- would require many and different people come together,but i'm just wondering how i could work my way being one of them :P . Oh i'm an electrical engineering undergrad btw,and would love to do a physics MSc in future. I'm actually even wondering if there are masters which study such things ,and if there are companies which have active interest in this .

Looking forward for your thoughts on the subject ,and really appreciate your time for checking it out .
 

anorlunda

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You have an interesting question. But it is broader than just EE. Let's see what responses you get here in the EE forum within 24 hours. After that, I'll move it to Academic Guidance where we might attract answers from educators.
 
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You have an interesting question. But it is broader than just EE. Let's see what responses you get here in the EE forum within 24 hours. After that, I'll move it to Academic Guidance where we might attract answers from educators.
I had hard time deciding which section was most appropriate for this topic . But yea definitely is much broader than just EE .I would value any useful answer,and thought ,so you're more than welcome to move it wherever you think it's best :) .
 

Baluncore

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What kind of physics courses would i need to take so i could in future help advance technologies of this field ?
You need two things.
1. An engineer's ability to visualise the 3D arrangement of the electric and magnetic fields, the currents flowing, and the forces on conductors. FEM.
2. Applied mathematics. Vector fields.
 
17
3
You need two things.
1. An engineer's ability to visualise the 3D arrangement of the electric and magnetic fields, the currents flowing, and the forces on conductors. FEM.
2. Applied mathematics. Vector fields.
I will definitely have to work my skills on PDEs . I know the basic concepts but i have not really studied the material just yet.I have completed calculus I and II and ODEs courses. I suppose it's time for PDEs .And then i guess i need to learn a simulation program to do FEM. Any suggestions on which i should start with?
 
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Baluncore

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And then i guess i need to learn a simulation program to do FEM. Any suggestions on which i should start with?
Start with what you can get at your engineering.edu for free.
 
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My limited understanding of the geometry, engineering etc is, like sustained fusion, human-scale stuff is generally an order of magnitude too small for efficiency plus high power.
{ But, Due Care, there are clever niche applications... }

Ship or Submarine ? 'Red October' aside, such doesn't come good until the duct is big enough to swallow the vessel 'tis supposed to propel. Space ? You're talking a super-Daedalus rather than Orion...

Without 'ambient temperature superconductors' that will tolerate the necessary magnetic fields, the support overheads may be crippling for a modest project...

But, MHD pumps do have their place. Moving Mercury or liquid alkali metals about without seals to leak and pistons to wear is a good trick. And, some-where, I've read of a similar approach for aggressively toxic brines...
 
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What kind of physics courses would i need to take so i could in future help advance technologies of this field ?
Your chosen field feels like a pricy hobby, not for lone wolves. Maybe you should check out existing university groups and companies who are already working on this field and ask them for advice: that way you might even get a shortcut into the research/development - if they find you useful/sympathetic.
 
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Thanks for guiding me there Baluncore. I will definitely check it out.

Nik i see your point . My main concern so far is the technology of the propulsion.
Practical implementation to an actual vehicle is something else that i bet would require
many engineers and scientists to perfect.

I do have to say though i really enjoy solid state physics and would be completely ok dealing with studying new materials for superconductors . I know this might sound a little bit far fetched,or not depending how you perceive it,but i would be glad for any knoweledge i would acquire whether if it's used or not in the end.

Rive,thanks for your interest. I suppose you're right,definitely not something you can build on your own.
That's why i actually like this field. I think it could be the next step in propulsion,a more beautiful and more sophisticated way to do it . Imagine drones using it :D . I will follow your advice and try to do my research on teams or universities who actually work on these things.
 
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Not much luck . It seems it's kinda specialised :( .
Most relevant further studies seem to involve plasma physics .
If we suppose i'm okay with it,how good things are for plasma physics researchers,are there opportunities ?
 
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Did you try extend your search into the edirection of special pumps mentioned before? Propulsion might be closer to that field.
 
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Did you try extend your search into the edirection of special pumps mentioned before? Propulsion might be closer to that field.
Yup i tried to look it up as well but it seems there's no real interest for researching ways to make it feasible for an actual propulsion system .
 
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That's all, then. As I recall the topic was 'hot' for some time before (remember the movie Red October?), but then it quieted down. Guess math said it is not good enough... You might try to find some pals for private experiments/development through the internet (time constricted search will come handy), but that's already about reducing your interest to the level of a hobby.
 

Vanadium 50

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I'm interested in MHD propulsion
Propulsion of what?

First, this approach is "a solution looking for a problem". That strategy often does not work out. Second, it has been tried for sea vessels. It is extremely expensive for little benefit and substantially reduced thrust. Basically, seawater is a crappy plasma, and that means you need superconductors, and that means liquid helium cryogenics - difficult and expensive: three orders of magnitude more than gas or diesel engines. Finally, drones have the twin problems that air is not a plasma, and air provides 1/600 the thrust as water for a given velocity.
 

Baluncore

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Technology is changing faster than students can be educated.
So you must learn the skills needed to work with any technology.
An interest in science follows science fiction.
An interest in MHD is a perfectly good framework to support and build those skills.

But your income will be derived from much more interesting and important projects.
Just what those projects will be is now unpredictable.
That is why applied mathematics and numerical tools are so important.
 
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Technology is changing faster than students can be educated.
So you must learn the skills needed to work with any technology.
An interest in science follows science fiction.
An interest in MHD is a perfectly good framework to support and build those skills.

But your income will be derived from much more interesting and important projects.
Just what those projects will be is now unpredictable.
That is why applied mathematics and numerical tools are so important.
Hahah,that's true . Most things we learn are kind of abstracted right now . There's no emphasis for example on how many different kind of transistors we can get from the market . It's something we must learn on our own .

I would need to work on other projects anyways so i can have an income,you're right on that . I was just wondering if there are jobs in this field of if they would be in the next years . That way i wouldn't need to work on it as a hobby . And let's be honest,it's in experimental phase it would need funding $$$ and lots of time to produce meaningful results if any . I will work a lot learning the numerical tools you're suggesting, i believe they will be very handy as you say in most jobs :) .

Vanadium 50

Propulsion of small water drones and later maybe even air drones(i know this is much much harder).
I guess ionizing air to become plasma is not a very serious solution right now,except someone has a fission reactor in the size of a chip :oldlaugh: .Theoritically speaking though if one could use superconductors and create very large magnetic fields,he could have reasonable thrust right ? Has anyone actually tried this even just for the shake of the experiment?

Professionaly speaking,what's a good masters that would include
superconductors/plasma physics/magnetic materials ? Anything in mind that would offer the basis to start research in these fields ? I like them a lot and would like to study them more later . My interest for applying them to build an actual product is a second concern . The science behind even in the theoritical regime is already very exciting .

Rive

I have seen the movie,it was really nice :D . I guess i could do that also,it would be fun learning more and more stuff about this technology and the science behind it . Also i could expand my search to plasma engines as well ? They seem to attract more interest than MHD and there already experimental teams working to make them better . Of course for space applications but hey,it's definitely a start,and there are things that would firstly be used for space applications and ended up being used here on earth as well ^^ .
 
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