Archimedes Drill Propulsion

Jairaj Ranchod


In this project, we simulate the rotation of a helix set inside a cylinder, akin to an Archimedes drill. There is one positive charge on the edge of the helix and charges that can be turned on and off placed periodically around the cylinder. These charges work to rotate the helix with respect to the cylinder. This system interacts with a three-dimensional field of particles. The helix hits the particles backwards, thus propelling the system forwards. We find the moment of inertia of our helix and characterize its angular motion. We find that due to particles colliding with the top of the helix as well as the bottom, the system reaches some terminal velocity. We also find the number of nodes to be placed around the cylinder to optimize the average angular velocity of the helix. Finally, we characterize the effects of changing the concentration of the particle field and the mass of the individual particles in the field.