This Jet Engine Can Fly You Anywhere in 2 Hours
The days of “Are we there yet?” could be over, if an experimental jet engine developed by Chinese scientists proves to be a workable new means of travel.
The “sodramjet” engine – short for “standing oblique detonation ramjet engine” – was developed by Zonglin Jiang and his team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China.
Jiang and his colleagues turned to the hypersonic ideas that engineer Richard Morrison produced in 1980: shockwaves from supersonic air might hold enough energy to keep the engine going and produce speeds beyond Mach 16, or over 19 000 kilometres per hour.
The sodramjet would prove extremely useful for environmental efforts as it uses hydrogen fuel, which is plentiful and has a much smaller carbon footprint than contemporary flight technology.
However, do not expect to hop on a hypersonic flight any time soon – the engine is still years away from commercial use.
Still, the scientists’ idea remains exciting, as their published study states: “With reusable trans-atmospheric planes, [the aircraft] can take off horizontally from an airport runway, accelerate into orbit around the Earth, then re-enter into the atmosphere, and finally land at an airport.”
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