how does an ion engine work

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how does an ion engine work

An electrostatic ion engine works by ionizing a fuel (often xenon or argon gas) by knocking off an electron to make a positive ion. The positive ions then diffuse into a region between two charged grids that contain an electrostatic field.06-Mar-2013

Does an ion drive Need fuel?

The ion propulsion system's efficient use of fuel and electrical power enable modern spacecraft to travel farther, faster and cheaper than any other propulsion technology currently available.12-Jul-2004

How much fuel does an ion drive need?

Chemical rockets have demonstrated fuel efficiencies up to 35 percent, but ion thrusters have demonstrated fuel efficiencies over 90 percent.

How efficient are ion thrusters?

Chemical rockets have demonstrated fuel efficiencies up to 35 percent, but ion thrusters have demonstrated fuel efficiencies over 90 percent. Currently, ion thrusters are used to keep communication satellites in the proper position relative to Earth and for the main propulsion on deep space probes.12-Jul-2004

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How are ion thrusters powered?

An ion thruster ionizes propellant by adding or removing electrons to produce ions. Most thrusters ionize propellant by electron bombardment: a high-energy electron (negative charge) collides with a propellant atom (neutral charge), releasing electrons from the propellant atom and resulting in a positively charged ion.11-Jan-2016

Do ion thrusters run out of fuel?

Ion engines are limited by energy, not by mass. Therefore "running out of gas" is not a large problem with ion engines. The limit for ion engines is usually where to get all the electricity to feed the ion engine.

How are ion engines powered?

An ion thruster ionizes propellant by adding or removing electrons to produce ions. Most thrusters ionize propellant by electron bombardment: a high-energy electron (negative charge) collides with a propellant atom (neutral charge), releasing electrons from the propellant atom and resulting in a positively charged ion.11-Jan-2016

Do ion engines need fuel?

Ion engines come with other bonuses too. They need far less fuel than chemical engines — about 100 million times less — so they're cheaper to operate. The spacecraft also doesn't have to be loaded up with so much fuel, freeing up extra room for cargo or astronauts.10-Dec-2015

How does an ion engine operate?

8.11 [15]; several electrode layers are machined on a silicon substrate, with different high pressures to form a strong electric field, the liquid metal is ionized, positively charged metal atoms are ejected out of the accelerating electric field to generate thrust, and electrons are discharged by the external power …

Can you use ion thrusters on Earth?

No, because you can speed up (accelerate) the little mass enough to produce enough force.

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Do ion thrusters work in an atmosphere?

Ion thrust engines are practical only in the vacuum of space and cannot take vehicles through the atmosphere because ion engines do not work in the presence of ions outside the engine; additionally, the engine's minuscule thrust cannot overcome any significant air resistance.

Why can ion engines only be used in space?

These thrusters must be used in a vacuum to operate at the available power levels, and they cannot be used to put spacecraft in space because large amounts of thrust are needed to escape Earth's gravity and atmosphere.These thrusters must be used in a vacuum to operate at the available power levels, and they cannot be used to put spacecraft in spacespacecraft in spaceA spacecraft leaving the surface of Earth, for example, needs to be going about 11 kilometers (7 miles) per second, or over 40,000 kilometers per hour (25,000 miles per hour), to enter orbit.https://www.nasa.gov › features › F_Escape_VelocityEscape Velocity: Fun and Games – NASA because large amounts of thrust are needed to escape Earth's gravity and atmosphere.12-Jul-2004

How fast can ion thruster go on Earth?

Spacecraft powered by these thrusters can reach speeds up to 90,000 meters per second (over 200,000 mph). In comparison, the Space Shuttles can reach speeds around 18,000 mph. The trade-off for the high top speeds of ion thrusters is low thrust (or low acceleration).12-Jul-2004

Can ion engines work on Earth?

No, because you can speed up (accelerate) the little mass enough to produce enough force.

Do ion engines require fuel?

The ion propulsion system's efficient use of fuel and electrical power enable modern spacecraft to travel farther, faster and cheaper than any other propulsion technology currently available.12-Jul-2004

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What is the downside to an ion engine?

Ion thrusters are therefore able to achieve high specific impulses. The drawback of the low thrust is low acceleration because the mass of the electric power unit directly correlates with the amount of power.

How long do ion engines last?

The first ion thrusters did not last very long, but the ion thruster on Deep Space 1 exceeded expectations and was used more than 16,000 hours during a period of over 2 years. The ion thrusters being developed now are being designed to operate for 7 to 10 years.12-Jul-2004

How fast would an ion engine go?

Spacecraft powered by these thrusters can reach speeds up to 90,000 meters per second (over 200,000 mph). In comparison, the Space Shuttles can reach speeds around 18,000 mph. The trade-off for the high top speeds of ion thrusters is low thrust (or low acceleration).12-Jul-2004

What fuel does an ion engine use?

Modern ion thrusters use inert gases for propellant, so there is no risk of the explosions associated with chemical propulsion. The majority of thrusters use xenon, which is chemically inert, colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Other inert gases, such as krypton and argon, also can be used.12-Jul-2004

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