Steal without feeling guilty? NASA studies a mini-engine to create less polluting planes

Steal without feeling guilty? NASA studies a mini-engine to create less polluting planes
Steal without feeling guilty? NASA studies a mini-engine to create less polluting planes

The aeronautics industry must question itself. While climate change concerns us, the industry is thinking about ways to make planes less energy-intensive and less polluting. And NASA may have taken a step in the right direction, says Interesting Engineering. The American agency has developed a small aircraft engine, barely more than a meter long, to carry out propulsion experiments at lower energy costs.

This engine, called DART, is half the size of the engines used in medium-sized aircraft. “This small size is interesting, underlines Dan Sutliff, research fellow at NASA. It’s a great way to explore new technologies that haven’t yet reached the level to be tested on a large scale.”

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NASA publishes its most beautiful images of Earth

Indeed, for the moment, this small engine – first built by a French company, Price Induction which became Akira, then purchased by NASA in 2017 – is used by engineers to carry out tests with new components to improve the future aeronautics.

Will NASA succeed in its challenge of building a more energy-efficient plane by 2030?

Because DART passes more air through its turbines, it resembles commercial aircraft engines. Using it as a basis for research is therefore all the more interesting. Analyzing it closely and subjecting it to extensive propulsion tests would make it possible to build much more powerful planes than those we currently have.

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NASA would like to create an aircraft that consumes less kerosene and has a reduced engine for airlines by the 2030s. The first tests on the DART are conclusive and could lead to other tests outside the laboratories in the coming months. In a press release, the American agency already mentions the possibility of wind tunnel tests.

This small engine allows a multitude of laboratory tests

The DART engine saves aeronautical engineers time, energy and money. “This testing tool helps protect the environment”supports Dan Sutliff.

And this is not the first time that the DART engine has assisted NASA researchers in the development of new technologies. It has already been used to carry out sound volume tests on engines to avoid excessive noise emissions in aircraft. It is also not excluded that this miniature engine will be used again in this sense in the future. It could also serve as a test base for testing layers of protection on motors or for reviewing the properties of sensors in motors.

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