ion thruster in atmosphere
Modern ion thrusters use inert gases for propellant, so there is no risk of the explosions associated with chemical propulsion. An ion thruster in Earth’s atmosphere works by positively ionizing nitrogen molecules (by removing an electron) ahead of the plane and accelerating them towards the negatively charged wing along a 40,000 volt electrical field. There are three types of thrusters: Atmospheric thrusters which are electrically powered and only work in the atmosphere of a planet, Ion-based thrusters that use electricity and work in vacuum, and powerful Hydrogen thrusters which require Hydrogen as a fuel. Ion thrust engines are practical only in the vacuum of space and cannot take vehicles through the atmosphere because ion engines do not work in the presence of ions outside the engine. It should be noted that the Ion thruster is the Jack-of-all-trades thruster as it does not out-perform its brethren in any … Researchers have successfully tested a new ion thruster design that gets rid of the need for heavy propellant by "breathing" air. The majority of thrusters use xenon, which is chemically inert, colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Ion rocket: Force = little tiny mass x BIG ACCELERATION Ion thrusters provide less thrust in an atmosphere. The difference between ion propulsion and conventional propulsion is that in ion propulsion you are throwing little tiny amounts of stuff out the back at very high speeds but in conventional propulsion you are throwing huge amounts of stuff out the back at a slower speed. Additionally, the engine's minuscule thrust cannot overcome any significant air resistance. Other inert gases, such as krypton and argon, also can be used.

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