Detonation Engine Built to Reduce Fuel Consumption

Military fuel expenses could decrease due to the new explosive engine

Military researchers and General Electric (GE) scientists are working together on the construction of a new engine, meant to reduce the extremely high military expenses.

It was estimated that the fuel consumption in military ships, airplanes or power plants could register a 25% decrease, if the project succeeds.

The Navy declared that if that were the case, its annual expenses could be lowered by up to $400 million, according to MIT Technology Review.

The project, which could take over 10 years to be completed, consists of an explosive mechanism, built out of several spinning blades meant to compress the air, which afterwards has to be mixed with fuel and burned at a constant flame.

As a consequences, hot gases that make the engine work would be generated.

The explosive engines are great high pressure generators, the latter being almost 10 times bigger in this case than in that of a normal engine.

“It’s like an explosion or a bomb,” explained Kazhikathra Kailasanath, a scientist of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

“If you burn something in an open flame, the pressure stays the same as the surrounding pressure. The big difference with a detonation engine is going from that to a confined type of combustion, where the pressure goes up and the combustion occurs more rapidly.”

While the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is on the half way to construct the first full-scale model of the mechanism, Navy scientists struggle to develop the concept that could reach a higher level of efficiency.

Although the current advanced technology has made possible the building of an object that hasn't been but a dream for scientists for years, the experts involved in the project say there are still many challenges laying ahead. They require good engineering and powerful techniques.

“The detonation is like a hammer blow,” said Narendra Joshi, the scientist in charge of propulsion technologies at GE.

“You have to be careful where that hammer blow goes.”

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