This paper discusses the basic principles and present developmental status of the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) power generator. MHD power generation utilizes the direct conversion of kinetic energy of a fastmoving hot gas to electricity. MHD generators have now reached the stage of practical utilization. A 20- MW system is being used as the energy supply for a wind tunnel at the Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center. The development of commercial MHD generators has reached the point where construction and test of a complete experimental MHD- steam power plant can be undertaken.


Cet exposé décrit les principes de base et l'état présent de développement du générateur magnétohydrodynamique (MHD). La production de puissance (MHD) opère la conversion directe de l'énergie ciné- tique, d'un gas chaud en mouvement rapide, en électricité. Les générateurs MHD ont atteint le stade d'utilisation pratique. Un ensemble de 20 MW est actuellement utilisé comme source de puissance pour un tunnel d'essai au "Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center". Le développement de générateurs MHD industriels a atteint le stade où la construction et l'essai d'une centrale expérimentale intégrée MHD-vapeur peut être entreprise.


MHD power generation has now reached the stage of practical utilization. The first MHD generator to be The magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) power generator is a device in which the thermal energy of a hot gas is converted first to kinetic energy and then directly to electricity. The conversion of thermal to kinetic energy is essentially the same process that occurs in a rocket, but the conversion of kinetic energy to electricity is produced by the mass interaction of an electromagnetic field with a fast-moving, hot, electrically conducting gas.

The potential attractiveness of the MHD generator has been appreciated for many years. The first substantial attempt to build an MHD generator was made by Karlovitz and Slepian in the late 30's at Westinghouse. In 1958, research on MHD power generation began at Avco Everett Research Laboratory. Rosa constructed the Mark I MHD generator (see Fig. i), which operated on the output of a potassium-seeded argon plasma jet. The use of an arc heated stream enabled the extraction of an appreciable amount of power (10 kW) from a very small generator. The significance of this experiment was the demonstration of a capability to obtain the calculated power output of an MHD generator.

After several years of intensive development effort, by A. KANTROWITZ, Director, Avco Everett Research Laboratory, Vice President, Avco Corporation (U.S.A.) Fig, I-Mark I, MHD generator 225 226 New Conversion Devices for Energy from Fossil Fuels built for a specific application-energy supply for a wind tunnel-is beginning its trial testing at the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center, in

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