“17 years old [named Robert Sansone] has created a prototype of a new synchronous jet engine that has greater torque – or torque – and efficiency than existing ones,” writes Slashdot reader hesdeadjim99 of a report via Smithsonian Magazine. “The prototype was made of 3-D printed plastic, copper wires and steel rotor and tested using various meters to measure power and a laser tachometer to determine engine speed. His work earned him first prize and a $75,000 prize at this year’s Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest international high school STEM competition.” From the report: Less stable permanent magnet motors use materials such as neodymium, samarium and dysprosium, which are in high demand because they are used in many different products, including headphones and earplugs, explains Heath Hoffman, professor of electrical and computer engineering. of Technology at Michigan State University. Hoffman has worked extensively on electric vehicles, including consulting with Tesla on the development of algorithms to control its powertrain. […] Synchronous jet engines do not use magnets. Instead, a steel rotor with air gaps cut into it aligns with a rotating magnetic field. The reluctance, or magnetism, of the material is the key to this process. When the rotor rotates with the rotating magnetic field, a torque is created. Greater torque is created when the coefficient of salience, or the difference in magnetism between the materials (in this case steel and non-magnetic air gaps), is greater.

Instead of using air gaps, Sanson thought he could incorporate a different magnetic field into the engine. This would increase this quotient and in turn produce more torque. There are other components to his design, but he can’t reveal more details because he hopes to patent the technology in the future. […] It took several prototypes before he could test his design. […] Sansone tested its engine for torque and efficiency, then reconfigured it to perform like a more traditional synchronous jet engine for comparison. He found that his new design demonstrated 39 percent more torque and 31 percent more efficiency at 300 revolutions per minute (RPM). At 750 rpm, it operated with 37 percent more efficiency. He couldn’t test his prototype at higher rpm because the plastic pieces would overheat, a lesson he learned the hard way when one of the prototypes melted on his desk, he tells Top of the Class, a podcast produced by Crimson Education. By comparison, a Tesla Model S engine can reach 18,000 rpm, the company’s chief engine designer Constantinos Laskaris explained in a 2016 interview with Christian Ruaf of electric car magazine Charged.

Sansone confirmed his results in a second experiment, in which he “identified the theoretical principle that the new design creates magnetic salience,” according to his project presentation. Essentially, this experiment ruled out all other variables and confirmed that the improvements in torque and efficiency correlated with the greater salience factor of its design. […] Sansone is now working on calculations and 3D modeling for version 16 of his engine, which he plans to build with stronger materials so he can test it at higher rpm. If his engine continues to run at high speed and efficiency, he says he will move forward with the patent process.

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