Aircraft that use lasers with a fuel injection system to go faster?
No this isn’t science fiction, this method developed by physicists Yuri Rezunkov at the institute of optoelectronic engineering and Alexander Schmidt of the institute of Physical technical institute in Saint Petersburg in Russia.
Alexander has stated within the Optical Society (OSA) journal Applied Optics:
“Currently, the maximum speed of a spacecraft is limited by the amount of solid or liquid fuel that it can carry. Achieving higher speeds means that more fuel must be burned — fuel that, inconveniently, has to be carried by the craft and hefted into space. These burdensome loads can be reduced, however, if a laser — one located at a remote location, and not actually on the spacecraft — were used to provide additional propulsive force.”
Numerous systems have been investigated and proposed for such laser, however one has been found called the “laser ablation”. By addressing current laser propulsion technology being limited by the inability of supersonic gas flow, this is hindered by shock waves which produce a “choke” in the inlet gas injection nozzle, this seriously effects the amount of thrust a vehicle can produce.Using this new integrated laser functionality, a pulsed laser bean strikes the hits a surface of the vehicle thrusters and will be begin thermal excitation of the injected gas, this creates whats known as a plasma plume. ( this is a column of charged particles which flow from this surface). By redirecting this plasma plume so that it is closer to the walls of a supersonic gas injection nozzle this can significantly improve the overall thrust. Merging this system with an already designed fuel injection systems, they discovered that they could increase the speed of the gas flow while reducing the fuel used.
“This technology would not only be used for launching satellites into earth orbit but could also be used to give the extra push to aircraft’s speed to mark 10 or more” Rezunkov says
To read the actual journal go to:
Yurii Rezunkov, Alexander Schmidt. Supersonic laser propulsion. Applied Optics, 2014; 53 (31): I55 DOI: 10.1364/AO.53.000I55
Have a great day guys!