The propellers are designed to propel a fluid, usually air or water, through a rotating movement. Some consider them an evolution of the screw that Archimedes described in 234 BC. c.
The planes continue to use propellers of twisted aerodynamic blades similar to bamboo helicopters that used by Chinese children 2,400 years agosurprisingly less efficient than the wooden propellers that the Wright brothers developed in 1903.
Ships still use screw propellers, variants of which date back to the 18th century. That is why we are fascinated that some scientists have managed to revolutionize a design that has been in use for more than 2,000 years.
These people claim to have shown significant advantages in both air and water using a very different form: specifically, some strange twisted torus ring shapes that not only appear to be much quieter than traditional designs, but so efficient, especially in deep space, that they could be a profound leap forward.
Noise is the great enemy and it is about to disappear
One of the main problems with traditional propellers is their annoying noise. Interestingly, much of this noise is right in the same frequency range as a baby crying. Humans tend to be most sensitive to sounds between 100 Hz and 5 kHz.
and a team that works on a silent ion-powered aircraft at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory he wondered if the noise from multirotor propellers could be mitigated with differently shaped propellers.
After a few tries, the team found a design that reduced not only overall noise levels at a given thrust level, but also all noise in the 1-5 kHz range.
In fact, they sound more like a breeze than a propeller, so they’re much less annoying. Anecdotally, according to the team, a drone with these propellers emits a sound level roughly as annoying as a normal drone at twice the distance.
For now it is not clear if these types of designs could be relevant on a larger scalereplacing the traditional propellers of fixed-wing aircraft, or even electric air taxis (VTOL).
The team has patented the design, and while it’s unclear if there are plans to commercialize it, MIT seems willing to license it to interested manufacturers.
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