June 13, 2021

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Mechanical Engineering – Flying cars can take off

Vienna. Rocket backpacks, robot butlers and flying cars were among the visions of the future for 2021. Robotic vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers as well as cars that take the wheel have come true. However, American researchers at Penn State University are getting a little closer to using flying cars. They are looking at the requirements for aircraft that use electric power to fly, take off and land vertically.

Will models like the Muller Skycar replace the passenger car? – © wiki/Tim the Terrible

A flying car is a type of personal aircraft designed to allow people to go door-to-door above ground and in high air. The first draft is a car tarpaulin made by Glenn Curtis from 1917, but it was not airworthy. As of 2021, there are 85 flying cars that have been field-tested and are no longer suitable for everyday use. One problem with this is the drive.

“Only batteries with high energy density can hold a flying car in the air. At the same time, a huge amount of energy is required to take off from the ground,” says Zhao Yang Wang, professor of mechanical engineering at the university. , in Joule magazine. In order for a plane to take off and land repeatedly in rush hour, the batteries must also be able to charge very quickly.

“Flying cars will be an efficient airport shuttle service for small groups at speeds of up to 320 kilometers per hour,” says Wang. He and his team tested the special lithium-ion batteries with a range of 80 kilometers, a quarter of an hour’s flight. It can be recharged up to 2000 times. This technology is also used in electric cars, but it has several hours of charging time. To ensure the batteries were not damaged during the required fast charging process, the team placed a nickel-based chip in a lithium-ion battery, heating it to 60 degrees Celsius. “The three requirements for vertical flight usually work against each other. High energy density slows charging and fast charging reduces the number of charging cycles. We can manage all three requirements with a single battery.”

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Will this technology replace the car? Before that happens, the question that will surely arise is whether we really want cars that race around our ears.(he is)