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possibly stupid physics / engineering question
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Old 04-05-2012, 00:23   #1
deakin
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possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Now i know less than jack about physics but i had a thought about powering a engine using lightning streams.

If we had the materials and technology to produce and contain a constant lightning bolt within a confined area. Could this be used as a replacement instead of burning fuel in a turbine engine ? From what i've read the temperature generated would be around 30,000c What would happen to the incoming air at this high temperature. Would it just expand or would it change to some type of plasma. Could the concept of a lightning engine work ?

See very basic drawing below.

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Old 04-05-2012, 00:41   #2
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Yes, from your opening statement, your grasp of physics (and a great deal more, reality being perhaps one) is tenuous. I am not a rocket scientist or nuclear physicist (although I do know a NASA scientist) but I really don't think that your design is yet viable. However, keep trying and you never know
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:22   #3
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Quote:
Originally Posted by deakin View Post
Now i know less than jack about physics but i had a thought about powering a engine using lightning streams.

If we had the materials and technology to produce and contain a constant lightning bolt within a confined area. Could this be used as a replacement instead of burning fuel in a turbine engine ? From what i've read the temperature generated would be around 30,000c What would happen to the incoming air at this high temperature. Would it just expand or would it change to some type of plasma. Could the concept of a lightning engine work ?

See very basic drawing below.
If we had the tech/power source to produce a sustained lightening bolt of that magnitude we wouldn't need it to power a turbine engine
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:42   #4
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Energy is energy so in theory yes it could work...

BUT... You've not explained as to how we produce the lightning in the first place... Unless you've also come up with a tiny little cold fusion electrical reactor your engine from power source to thrust is going to be very inefficient
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:50   #5
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Where would the energy to produce the lightning bolts come from?
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Old 04-05-2012, 13:04   #6
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

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Old 05-05-2012, 04:21   #7
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham M View Post
Where would the energy to produce the lightning bolts come from?
Taser!
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:32   #8
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham M View Post
Where would the energy to produce the lightning bolts come from?
From the lightning conductor on the top
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Old 07-05-2012, 17:11   #9
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

One point twenty one jigawatts!!!
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Old 12-05-2012, 16:18   #10
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Re: possibly stupid physics / engineering question

Having a Physics background I won't slate you as others have. For a poster who doesn't know anything about Physics, it shows an inquisitive mind at work.

The main issue is that jet engines are already efficient once in flight but you still need energy to power a compressor on the front end unless we are talking Ramjet engines which normally only operate at supersonic speeds.

Keep at it though and remember there are hundreds of inventions made by people who knew little about the subjects concerned.
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