Correct Answer : Option (C) - plane X-57
NASA's "all-electric" plane X-57 is soon set to take off, the US space agency said on Tuesday (7th February 2023). The plane has 14 propellers along its wings and is powered entirely by electricity.
* NASA's X-57 Maxwell performed successful thermal testing of its cruise motor controllers.
* Thermal testing is important because it validates the design, operability, and workmanship quality of aircraft controllers. The controllers have temperature-sensitive parts and must be able to withstand extreme conditions during flight.
* The X-57 uses lithium batteries to run electric motors for its propellers.
* The cruise motor controllers convert the energy stored in the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries to power the aircraft’s motors. However, the energy of lithium-ion batteries is 50 times less than aviation fuel.
* The controllers use silicon carbide transistors to deliver 98% efficiency during high-power take-off and cruise, meaning they do not generate excessive heat and can be cooled off by the air flowing through the motor.
* The X-57 is a modified, four-seater, Italian-built Tecnam P2006T aircraft. It relies on a combination of lots of propellers, small motors, and many batteries spread out across an aircraft, known as “distributed propulsion".
* X-57's distinctive feature is that the wings are completely redesigned with propellers positioned to optimise airflow around them. When a propeller is not needed, its blades can be folded back to reduce drag.
* Propeller technology generally is having a rebirth. Designs are becoming not just more efficient, but also less noisy and more affordable. The speed and pitch angle of propellers can even be changed during flight to adapt to the different aircraft speeds required for takeoff, landing, and cruising.
With a range of about 160 km
and a flight time of about one hour, the X-57
is not expected to lead to a replacement technology for long-haul flying. Instead, short-hop flights with ten or so passengers are a good and potentially possible target for early, battery-powered flights..Source : Mint