MIT AeroAstro, EECS, and Lincoln Lab collaborate on electroaerodynamic propulsion research

Participants from MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Lincoln Lab are collaborating to design and produce the first airplane powered with electroaerodynamic (EAD) propulsion.

EAD propulsion has no moving parts and is sometimes called “solid state”.While the effect has been known about for over a century, interest has increased because previous work at the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics indicated that EAD propulsion may be an efficient means of propulsion.

The team aim to flight test a small drone with about a 3-4 m wingspan for a short straight-line indoor test. If successful, this will be the first flight of an airplane which does not use moving surfaces (e.g. propellor or turbine blades) or heat addition (e.g. as in a ramjet) for propulsion.