So, what's inside the bulb? There is a circular airfoil inside. We all know what lift and drag are correct. I mean we wouldn't be 'good' nerds if we didn't.
So I was pondering a way to design a concept of an interplanetary propulsion system that does not need any type of combustible fuel that can have multiple backup power systems.
I work at Boeing and one day as I strolled through the factory here in Everett, WA I was starring at the airfoil of a 787 Dreamliner. I thought to myself that even though most of the plane is composite it must still take an enormous amount of energy to 'lift' it off of the ground.
So, in my thinking, I figured what would happen if we exceeded the lift required to move an object? My hypothesis, a high power to weight ratio just like a rocket motor. So I used some crude wing design software, downloadable for free from NASA JPL, to design an airfoil.
First I calculated the 'Zero-Wing' as I have coined it, to be 50ft in DIA with a wing width of 15ft and a 20 DEG camber and a severe thickness (don't want to give away to much. I came up with a wing that would generate over 700K lbs of lift.
The image you see now is of a much smaller 25ft DIA drive motor. I wanted to make them 'stackable' meaning you can align more than one behind one and other.
So, you guys still with me? Now for the redundant power sources. You have your primary Thorium (Th90) reactor, then carbon nanotube battery packs to run off of which are pre charged by the reactor and a deployable solar array to charge batteries and drive the motor.
Now as we all know the air velocity over the top of an airfoil is greater however less dense (lower pressure) than the underside. So my wing in the bulb is symmetrically circular. Problem eh....I think not. The higher velocity air get crammed down the doughnut hole of the wing at high velocity and then becomes highly pressurized. This creates a suction that is almost ever flowing. The turbine still needs to pack air in however the driver motor only has to work 1/2 as hard and so does the reactor. Now all of this air is contained internally so it's always there. This engine is designed to work in space or under water and does not to need to interact with the outside world.
Because all that hi pressure blow off is also driving the turbine, hence the carbon nano tube reinforced polymer blades which are use for acrobatic flights and air racing. They can withstand high levels of stress.
The feeder ducts are exposed to space at some point on them to cool the air and make it more dense. The laser array inside heats the airflow over the top of the wing expanding it making it more less dense. This gives the laws of physics a false sense of security. It tricks it into thinking the wing inside is generating more lift that it is.
There is no aerodynamic drag acting on the wing since the air is being pulled away by the turbine. Think of driving behind a tractor/trailer to reduce drag on your car to save gas. All you have is pure force acting in a forward motion. Jet engines work the same way. It's not all that fire you see shooting out of the back, although nice to look at, it's the forward pressure on the compressor. So, in way I'm using plain old aerodynamics and part of the 'Brayton Cycle'.
The reactor fins are exposed to space and are filled with water that is chemically treated not to freeze just get cool. In the event of a catastrophic failure the whole reactor can be blown into space via small SRB booster rockets attached to it.
I'm glad I mailed this to myself today. Cause if it works I'll be rich. Still filing my patent even though mailing it will suffice in a court of law, lol.
It's technical. There's a flow to it (no idea how it works, but it reminds me of a 60s nuclear aircraft engine prototype, using reactor heat to drive a turbine). It looks exactly like the Atrox carrier's drive system if you can imagine scaling this up a thousand times and putting it through a Star Trek designer's board.
Best of all I like it because about 6-7 years back I had a discussion with a US Army attack helo pilot about Cold War era nuclear propelled aircraft.
We were doing collaborative sci fi game design and I proposed using a centreline mounted plasma reactor as a sort of dual purpose space and atmospheric propulsion system. In space it powers ship systems, weapons and thrusters, in atmosphere the heat generated by the reactor would itself allow the hollow centre of the vessel as a sort of ramjet for limited duration supersonic flight.
I was pleasantly surprised when he wrote back saying there was a 'nuclear turbojet' back in the day that functioned on the same principle. Reactor as a heating element.
And there's your troll protection. There's nothing flawed about this concept. Infact, in another alternative universe, Earth could very well have created nuclear propelled air and spacecraft, and we'd see such engines in widespread use by now in that mirror universe.
Yeppers I think I have seen that. The exhaust would look like a phaser beam comming out the back.
You mean the airstream got so hot it became a stream of superheated plasma? That is -a lot- of thrust.
Just got a couple of questions about your mechanical design. Not going to touch on the basic principle, that's you department, but the airflow I'm curious about.
I see a reactor and mag drive stack remotely connected to a turbine stage. Turbine looks like a remote unit separate from the reactor which is good. Modular, and jettisonable in case emergency separation of the moving parts were ever deemed necessary.
Can you confirm air goes into the front (of the turbofan like impeller), goes into the heating element and out the back of the engine? First diagram at the top doesn't have a visible exhaust, hence the question.
If so this could be mounted on a aircraft or ship in such a way there is a smooth nacelle over the wing or hull surface for the reactor itself, and the only thing visible externally is the shroud where the fan and heating element is. Potentially you could have an aircraft shaped around the engine itself and the whole thing would look as sleek as a Skylon type spaceplane.
The curved intake duct means a more compact assembly which is perfect for a starship lifting engine. Design is currently not adapted for supersonic flight. Post Mach 1 you'd probably want a SR-71 type 'ramjet' appendage at the back, or some sort of scramjet for continuous supersonic airflow. Possibly your engine could have a common reactor and multiple turbine modules for different purposes. Cheap and modular.
However I'm unsure if this will work as a space drive - I guess once out of the atmosphere the exhaust and fan appendage could serve as a waste heat discharger (heatsink) and the turbine disconnected, whist reactor does whatever its supposed to do powering the ship electrically or with EPS or whatnot.
Can you confirm air goes into the front (of the turbofan like impeller), goes into the heating element and out the back of the engine? First diagram at the top doesn't have a visible exhaust, hence the question. .
Yes it does. I only made it visible in my sketch to give you all an idea. I will sketch out a cut-away or I will just model and engine in 3DS Max.
Very nice. Totally different from my redneck nuclear turbojet but also perfectly understandable. A self contained semi enclosed airfoil with thrust (indirectly) produced from laser heating, to produce a sort of self-lifting engine.
I do however believe that you need to 'launch' something out of the craft, as if you throw, say, superheated air, into a wall, trying to conserve fuel, you will have negated the thrust of the engine by having the engine exhaust hit the ship again.