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NASA explores greener future for aviation

by • August 7, 2016 • No Comments

From apps that suggest faster routes to airplane wings additional resistant to bug guts, NASA is looking at air travel of every angle to improve efficiency and cut pollution. The Convergent Aeronautics Solutions project is really much on the conceptual side of these efforts, but by sparking the imaginations of the agency’s brightest minds it may have a few sort of say in the next of aviation. 3D-printed electrical engines and adaptive wings are one of the five technological concepts selected for this year’s project, all of that can now undergo a two-year study with a view to reducing aircraft fuel and emissions.

  • NASA researchers are exploring the use of 3D printing to manufacture lighter and stronger motor parts
  • Could lithium-air batteries hold the key to additional efficient air travel?
  • NASA researchers are looking into mechanical methods to move an airplane's outer wing in flight in ...
  • A strong but lightweight version of aerogel, similar to what is seen here, may form the ...

According to NASA, of 3.5 billion folks around the globe board a plane every year. This number is forecast to double by the mid 2030s, raising a few fairly pertinent inquiries of the sustainability of current fuel sources and the carbon that they emit. Now in its 2nd year, the Convergent Aeronautics Solutions project is aimed at unearthing technologies that may alter air travel. More specifically, NASA is working to cut fuel use by half, lower harmful emissions by three quarters and significantly reduce aircraft noise.

A new kind of fuel cell?

Mixing hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity is a technique that has powered space travel since the sixties
, but the intricate tanks and plumbing required to keep the cold liquids are complex to accommodate on airplanes. The Fostering Ultra-Efficient Low-Emitting Aviation Power, or FUELEAP, concept can see researchers study a new kind of fuel cell that draws hydrogen of standard hydrocarbon-based aviation gas and oxygen of the air. These may be combined to create electricity to propel a hybrid electric or all-electric plane.

The air up there

With the top theoretical storage space ability of any battery innovation, lithium-air batteries (a fewtimes called breathing batteries) have weightive future across additional than a few applications. LION: Lithium Oxygen Batteries for NASA Electric Aircraft can put researchers to work investigating new kinds of additional stable electrolytes that may address one of the innovation’s additional glaring limitations, a tendency to decompose after really few charge cycles.

Tall tails

The vertical tail on an aircraft is a significant fail-safe for airplanes hurtling down runways, keeping the craft centered in the event of an engine failure. But once up in the air it becomes really the drag, literally, just adding fuel-wasting weight, aerodynamic resistance and not a whole lot else. One way to avoid this can be to have the plane’s wings play that stabilizing role during takeoff and landing instead, but mechanically speaking, how can this moving complexware most be achieved? This is what the engineers involved in the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project can be looking to find out.

The power of 3D printing

NASA is turning to the magic of 3D printing to address the maybe one of the additional pressing inquiries facing any form of aeronautical travel, how do we manufacture this thing as light, yet powerful, as possible? 3D software and printing that optimize creations for mechanical efficiency have shown really real promise, of weird motorcycle parts to 3D printed bridges. NASA is hoping to use the innovation to create electric motors that are lighter, probably more compact, and boast excellent power densities as a outcome.

Advanced drones

Radio communication is the go-to innovation for connecting drones with pilots on the ground inside a sure range, but NASA wants to let these unmanned vehicles off the leash. It hopes to instead enable satellite-based communications to donate operators greater revery, but the antennas required for this are already too clunky for such tiny aircraft to handle. The Lightweight, Conformal Antennas for Beyond Line of Sight Communications project can see researchers to work to create flexible, lightweight antennas of aerogel for this purpose, that may fit snugly to the aircraft and cut down on drag, emissions and fuel use.

Source: NASA 1, 2


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