Author Topic: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application  (Read 692010 times)

Offline sanman

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1660 on: 09/17/2012 09:20 PM »
1.25 years is still a measurable goal. Heck, this thread is a few times older than that.

If the basic science works, then this becomes an engineering optimization problem. Just Kickstarter it and hire some better engineers to improve the thrust while reducing the weight to fit it into a Cubesat package. If you can get it to travel from LEO to the Moon, then I'm sure you've got a hit on your hands, and can get whatever funding is required from the powers-that-be. If it works, it would certainly be a useful way for satellites to do stationkeeping.

Hey, people are talking about picosats these days, never mind just nanosats or cubesats. So does the efficiency of this mechanism improve as the package size scales up, or as package size scales down?
« Last Edit: 09/17/2012 09:31 PM by sanman »

Offline simonbp

Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1661 on: 09/18/2012 04:33 AM »
Hey, people are talking about picosats these days, never mind just nanosats or cubesats. So does the efficiency of this mechanism improve as the package size scales up, or as package size scales down?

Up, probably. There is a certain amount of overhead from power systems, electronics, and whatnot that mean really small sats aren't all that efficient. The only real motivation for them is cost, which is still quite useful for small experiments.

At any rate, it sounds like the JSC group is focusing on attitude-control systems, which is much more immediately practical. If they could get even a basic Q-Thruster ACS working, it would be commercial useful enough to self-support future development.
« Last Edit: 09/18/2012 04:33 AM by simonbp »

Online KelvinZero

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1662 on: 09/19/2012 03:02 AM »
Are we still discussing propellentless propulsion? Prove the effect exists and you will get a thousand times more funding, it will break open a whole new area of physics with unforeseeable consequences. It doesnt matter if you move a centimeter or to the moon, you just have to make it clear you haven't just accidentally reinvented the ion drive.


Offline simonbp

Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1663 on: 09/19/2012 03:25 AM »
Are we still discussing propellentless propulsion? Prove the effect exists and you will get a thousand times more funding, it will break open a whole new area of physics with unforeseeable consequences. It doesnt matter if you move a centimeter or to the moon, you just have to make it clear you haven't just accidentally reinvented the ion drive.

Which is precisely why Woodward & White's work is so interesting: they are attempting to experimentally test their crazy theory with a well-documented, reproducible experiment.

IIRC, the thought for a flight test is to prove that the (very small) effect they claim to observe on the ground is really propulsion, and not simply due to the experimental setup.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1664 on: 09/19/2012 09:47 AM »

At any rate, it sounds like the JSC group is focusing on attitude-control systems, which is much more immediately practical. If they could get even a basic Q-Thruster ACS working, it would be commercial useful enough to self-support future development.
At least one of their papers talks about the North South Station Keeping problem for commsats at GEO. Ion thrusters are already COTS options for this task so they have a target (about 1N/Kw of input power seems to be a goal) to aim for.

Note this would *eliminate* 1 whole life limiting mode (running out of station keeping propellant) and offer the *possibility* of return to LEO for upgrade or recycling. You'd still want something big to avoid multiple transits through the Van Allan belts though.

There is a fair bit of literature on designing for on orbit repair and upgrading but IIRC only Hubble has really put it into effect. I suspect it's more a question of deciding if you *want* to do it (and routes to getting the parts up there exist).
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Online KelvinZero

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1665 on: 09/19/2012 12:37 PM »
Which is precisely why Woodward & White's work is so interesting: they are attempting to experimentally test their crazy theory with a well-documented, reproducible experiment.

IIRC, the thought for a flight test is to prove that the (very small) effect they claim to observe on the ground is really propulsion, and not simply due to the experimental setup.

Absolutely and good luck to them. My eyebrow waggling is directed at anyone asking what point is it if the effect is tiny, or are trying to work up a business case. For example, how would the confirmation of propellentless propulsion compare to the confirmation of the Higgs Boson, a $13 billion dollar project. I would have thought this was many times more profound a revolution in physics. Its a rule the majority probably never expected to be broken. If necessary to understand the principle, we would have projects of at least that ($13b) scale popping up around the world to understand what it really means. (this only wouldnt happen if the principle became well understood with less effort)

Offline simonbp

Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1666 on: 09/20/2012 03:43 PM »
It's about risk rather than reward. The European and US governments were willing to shell out so much for LHC because it was always going to see _something_, even if it took them a while to figure out what it was. Same thing for large telescopes, or Mars landers, etc.

On the other hand, there is a huge risk with this stuff that it doesn't work and would just blow up in the face of any agency that attached their name to it. So, despite the reward, it's very difficult for anyone (government or private) to want to attach their name to a program that's so ripe for ridicule.

If, however, they can get to a high enough SNR that it's really believable (which may take an in-space test), funding sources and competitors (public and private) will start coming out of the woodwork.
« Last Edit: 09/20/2012 03:45 PM by simonbp »

Offline sanman

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1667 on: 09/20/2012 11:33 PM »
But if it doesn't require significant investment to do this kind of low-level research, then why worry about it biting you back? I can see people worried about getting in hot water for spending vast sums on something that fizzles out, but not on spending weak sums. It doesn't sound like testing this theory automatically entails some kind of massive expenditure.

As I recall, after some guy claimed to have used Hafnium isotope from an X-ray machine to create a quantum nucleonic battery, it was Los Alamos National Labs which spent money on an experiment to debunk the claim, calling it an opportunity to validate existing known laws of physics. People spend money all the time on testing and revalidating laws of physics. So even money spent on a disproof of Mach-Woodward could be seen as useful science. Just like Mythbusters.

Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1668 on: 09/21/2012 12:44 PM »
But if it doesn't require significant investment to do this kind of low-level research, then why worry about it biting you back? I can see people worried about getting in hot water for spending vast sums on something that fizzles out, but not on spending weak sums. It doesn't sound like testing this theory automatically entails some kind of massive expenditure.

As I recall, after some guy claimed to have used Hafnium isotope from an X-ray machine to create a quantum nucleonic battery, it was Los Alamos National Labs which spent money on an experiment to debunk the claim, calling it an opportunity to validate existing known laws of physics. People spend money all the time on testing and revalidating laws of physics. So even money spent on a disproof of Mach-Woodward could be seen as useful science. Just like Mythbusters.

In regards to R&D funding, Dr. Woodward and CSUF probably spend less than $25k per year supporting Woodward's Mach-Effect research with these costs primarily centered in the rental value of Woodward's CSUF lab space that could be used for other purposes, the insurance for same and the utilities required to keep it alive.  Woodward pays for most of his direct operating expenses out of his own pocket or a college R&D foundation he can submit requests to.

I'm not sure how much NASA is spending on Dr. White's work, Im just a contractor after all, but I think it just comes from internal JSC R&D funds that all civil servants at the center can submit competitive R&D proposals to that are then down-selected through a peer and JSC management review process on a yearly basis.  In other words we are only talking about a few hundred $K per year per project, at most, for any one of these internally supported R&D projects that goes to pays for the experiment's required materials and contractor labor if needed.

Best,
Star-Drive

Offline sanman

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1669 on: 09/21/2012 01:18 PM »
Hey Paul,

Any chance of some kind of "open sourced research" for this Mach-Woodward stuff, a la polywell? Can't some kind of basic spec for a basic apparatus be published, for others to try to reproduce it? You never know when someone in a wider community might come up with a variation or tweak that significantly improves the results.

Any plans to ever test this thing in space - ie. on a cubesat or something?
Wouldn't it be best to start planning to move to that kind of form factor, in case the opportunity arises? I've heard of various student-built satellites occasionally being launched. Why not yours as well?

Even with 130uN - and I realize it's a more recent result - that's enough to make a cubesat in LEO go somewhere else in a reasonable amount of time. All you'd have to do is make it go somewhere, as well as prove that it's not an ion/photon rocket expelling some kind of exhaust.
« Last Edit: 09/21/2012 01:23 PM by sanman »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1670 on: 09/21/2012 02:34 PM »
Of course, you're not limited by chemical energy densities - power it from a solar cell and you can keep going for ever. However, with SEP having such high Isp it will compete quite well for Dawn-like solar powered missions.

I'm correct in pointing out, I hope, that solar power only works while pretty close to an individual star, and will not work at any appreciable rate in interstellar space.  Which I guess would not be a "Dawn" mission.

Well, you may not always be able to gather propellant mass along the journey if you run out, but you'll probably still be able to gather light energy.

Just sayin', since the propellantless drive is seen as an enabler of interstellar missions.  So where does the driving energy come from again?

I don't even know what this grandly named WarpStar1 is...

Neither do I, but also note the assumption about the availability of 1 N/W thrusters.  As MP99 pointed out, "The reference given was for 0.0001 W/N".

It doesn't sound like testing this theory automatically entails some kind of massive expenditure.

This theory does sound like a shoe-in for a NIAC award, but this researcher intentionally avoids that kind of funding.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline sanman

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1671 on: 09/23/2012 07:18 AM »
Moving beyond cheap and convenient, what are the ideal components to most efficiently do this charge-and-oscillate that is the basis of the Mach-Woodward effect?

Wouldn't a nanotube be the highest-frequency mechanical oscillator currently possible? The fact that it can also be a conductor/semiconductor should also help. I'm thinking that some kind of intercalated buckyonion could act as a double-layer capacitor, and be attached to either end of your nanotube oscillator.

It's probably already been covered in this thread, but obviously you want the oscillation frequency to be as high as possible, and you want your charge mass to have as high as mass fraction of total mass as possible.

So can anybody else think of any better components for this purpose?

I don't know if this has been posted before, but here's something I found on Youtube:


« Last Edit: 09/23/2012 07:32 AM by sanman »

Offline sanman

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1672 on: 09/23/2012 06:13 PM »
Furthermore, electric charge is the form of energy potential being modulated here purely because it is convenient to manipulate. What other forms of energy potential could be modulated that would have higher energy density, thus offering a higher "mass fraction" of the total system mass? What about some kind of chemical potential? Some kind of nuclear potential? Perhaps NMR?

Which form of modulatable energy potential offers the most "Isp"?
« Last Edit: 09/23/2012 06:17 PM by sanman »

Offline simonbp


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Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline e of pi

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1675 on: 11/09/2012 01:07 AM »
http://wulixb.iphy.ac.cn/EN/abstract/abstract47295.shtml
I read that abstract, and I can't make heads or tails of if it's physically possible. If so, the power numbers look...interesting.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1676 on: 11/09/2012 02:39 AM »
Is it not EM drive with a cylindrical chamber, not a conical one?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online KelvinZero

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1677 on: 11/09/2012 12:41 PM »
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_11_05_2012_p84-495380.xml

AvLeak, so take with a large grain of halite...

From the article:
"Yang's team used a magnetron as a 2.45 GHz microwave source and produced a measured thrust of up to 720 mN from 2.5 kw of input power. On the surface, this appears to be a peer-reviewed validation of the science."

The EmDrive will give much higher performance, at lower cost, for many types of mission, says Shawyer. In an increasingly competitive, international industry, space companies will have to use EmDrive technology or go out of business.

This also of course promises free energy. Increase velocity with this device proportionally to input energy, extract energy using standard physics proportional to velocity squared. That solves our energy problems. Oh, and I guess we don't need to worry about the heat death of the universe anymore. But sure, you could focus on the companies dealing in the thousandth of a percent of the US federal budget related to high ISP low thrust devices. ::)

Online QuantumG

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1678 on: 11/09/2012 11:30 PM »
This also of course promises free energy. Increase velocity with this device proportionally to input energy, extract energy using standard physics proportional to velocity squared. That solves our energy problems.

Yep. Using those numbers, a 1 kg vehicle will have greater kinetic energy than the energy inputted after just 2.5 hours of acceleration.

Any propellantless propulsion that gives you a constant X thrust for Y input can be used to make infinite energy.

 8)
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #1679 on: 11/10/2012 01:33 AM »
So.... How big a grain of halite should be used?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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