Author Topic: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application  (Read 665240 times)

Offline qraal

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #580 on: 09/26/2009 10:05 AM »
1 W/1 N would be quite a space-drive. But to do useful propulsion it just has to beat the competition. Consider VASIMR - at full throttle the drive gets 1 N/125 kW. And that's just jet-power, the actual electrical efficiency is worse. If the MLT can get 1 N/kW and keep that up for weeks, then it'll be pure "Buck Rogers" between here and Mars.

Actually after a little less than 1 week it'd reach Mars. Now that'd make colonization somewhat easier wouldn't it? With a dry mass of 200 tons and 200 MW power - same power as the high-end VASIMR - then the ship would accelerate at 1 m/s2, doing the trip in 152 hours when Mars is 0.5 AU away.

Offline Cinder

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #581 on: 09/26/2009 10:30 AM »
Am I wrong in the impression that that would imply minimally-scaled (IOW cheap) probes to many different targets for the price of and in a fraction of the travel time of a single mission today?  That the more advanced stages of MLT tech (e.g. those needed for SSTO payloads and manned missions) wouldn't be required to push such small probes?
« Last Edit: 09/26/2009 10:34 AM by Cinder »
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Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #582 on: 09/26/2009 08:50 PM »
Am I wrong in the impression that that would imply minimally-scaled (IOW cheap) probes to many different targets for the price of and in a fraction of the travel time of a single mission today?  That the more advanced stages of MLT tech (e.g. those needed for SSTO payloads and manned missions) wouldn't be required to push such small probes?

Cinder:

You are on the right trail.  Any propulsion technology that can provide an order of magnitude improvement in performance in one or more important performance parameters like specific power (Watts/kg), specific thrust AKA Specific Impulse Isp (seconds) or my thrust to power figure of merit Newtons per Watt is a paradigm changer.  Right now the best energy limited ion or plasma rocket engine like VASIMR can provide 1 N/40 kW input power with an Isp of ~5,000 seconds.  If we can build reliable and long-lived M-E drives that produce 1.0 N per 4.0 kW we have a game changer for robotic solar system space drives.  If we can build an M-E drive that can produce that 1.0 N for only 400W of input power, that means we can now produce 10,000 Newtons (2,258 lb-f) for 4.0 Mega-Watts.  That’s not quite a one gee space drive that could lift your Toyota Corolla off the ground,  but when tied to a Lerner 5.0 MW Dense Plasma Fusion (DPF) reactor, we are getting very close to same.  And finally with three orders of magnitude improvement in the M-E drives, we would only need 40 watts to produce that 1.0 Newton of force, so the total power required to lift the Corolla off the ground is now on the order of 500 kW which means that a DPF reactor tied to four 10,000 Newton M-E drives would be one hell of a hot rod that could produce 4 gees of acceleration all the way to Mars and back! 

The foregoing could all happen in a few decades of continuous R&D improvements in the M-E cap materials and drive electronics, provided we can first prove conclusively to all that matter that the M-E is for real and engineerable to that first commercial step of powering station-keeping systems for communication satellites that require a high Isp 1.0 Newton thruster.  So if we can provide that 1.0 Newton thruster with power requirements equal to or less than the current ion drive solutions of ~1.0kW, we are off to the commercial M-E races.  Until then, we are still stuck in the classical chicken and egg quandary where we have to first find the resources that will allow us to push the current M-E data set from its current milli-Newton expressions up to at least 0.1 Newtons and preferably 1.0 Newton levels, while using only 1.0 kW of power.  And to do that we first have to build a test article that can levitate itself before the M-E skeptics will allow themselves to believe.  In the meantime we continue to plow the M-E ground on our own nickel trying to find that combination of ingredients that will get us to that 1.0 Newton goal.
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Offline mlorrey

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #583 on: 09/27/2009 01:23 AM »
Am I wrong in the impression that that would imply minimally-scaled (IOW cheap) probes to many different targets for the price of and in a fraction of the travel time of a single mission today?  That the more advanced stages of MLT tech (e.g. those needed for SSTO payloads and manned missions) wouldn't be required to push such small probes?

Cinder:

You are on the right trail.  Any propulsion technology that can provide an order of magnitude improvement in performance in one or more important performance parameters like specific power (Watts/kg), specific thrust AKA Specific Impulse Isp (seconds) or my thrust to power figure of merit Newtons per Watt is a paradigm changer.  Right now the best energy limited ion or plasma rocket engine like VASIMR can provide 1 N/40 kW input power with an Isp of ~5,000 seconds.  If we can build reliable and long-lived M-E drives that produce 1.0 N per 4.0 kW we have a game changer for robotic solar system space drives.  If we can build an M-E drive that can produce that 1.0 N for only 400W of input power, that means we can now produce 10,000 Newtons (2,258 lb-f) for 4.0 Mega-Watts.  That’s not quite a one gee space drive that could lift your Toyota Corolla off the ground,  but when tied to a Lerner 5.0 MW Dense Plasma Fusion (DPF) reactor, we are getting very close to same.  And finally with three orders of magnitude improvement in the M-E drives, we would only need 40 watts to produce that 1.0 Newton of force, so the total power required to lift the Corolla off the ground is now on the order of 500 kW which means that a DPF reactor tied to four 10,000 Newton M-E drives would be one hell of a hot rod that could produce 4 gees of acceleration all the way to Mars and back! 

NOTE: 75 horsepower = 100 kW. Thus a 500 kW car engine is 375 hp, which is pretty typical for your top of the line sports cars. Lose the transmission and drive train mass and exchange it for a LOX tank and some wings, and you are flying to orbit. Less than two gallons of gasoline to make orbit (plus the needed LOX).

Before some folks jump on this as fantasy, note I'm ignoring the obvious need for aerodynamics, flight avionics, and a mechanism for engine exhaust to be vented in orbit without generating unwanted thrust (perhaps a heat exchanger/compressor to bottle it as water and dry ice), and various other issues.

The point is that several hundred kW is not really an unusually high amount of power. Many very normal individuals in this world have such powerplants at their disposal.
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Offline Cinder

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #584 on: 09/27/2009 04:46 PM »
Thank you Star-Drive.  I'm anxious to hear the next results..
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Offline qraal

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #585 on: 09/28/2009 11:45 AM »

NOTE: 75 horsepower = 100 kW. Thus a 500 kW car engine is 375 hp, which is pretty typical for your top of the line sports cars.

au contraire, but 1 metric hp = 75 kgf.m/s  (735.5 W) and an old-school horse-power is 550 ft.lb/s (745.7 W.) Thus 75 hp isn't 100 kW, but just 55.164 kW. That's still pretty respectable. I have heard of a car with 750 hp under the hood. Of course what actually is converted into power on the road is substantially less due to thermodynamic & drive-train inefficiencies. Better efficiencies are possible, but for rather different engine configurations.

Offline kkattula

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #586 on: 09/28/2009 12:50 PM »
At 40 W/N, batteries would probably work for a lot of applications. (i.e. LEO & Moon trips, or even slow Mars trips)


At 1 W/N, solar power plus battery back up could make sense. Thin film solar cells at 1 kW/kg or even older 100 W/kg cells would produce enough power for high thrust in-space applications. 

The arrays would probably be too flimsy for in-atmosphere applications though. Take off on battery power, cruise to 100 km at 1 g, then deploy solar panels.

My BOTE for a 10,000 kg vehicle is (approx.):

100 kW needed for 1 g.
300 kg of Li-ion batteries (100 Wh/kg) to climb for 1000 s at 100 m/s.
100 kg of thin film solar cells. About 500 m^2 or two 25 x 10 m panels, plus support structure.

Effectively unlimited range. (until you run out of sunlight)



« Last Edit: 09/28/2009 12:51 PM by kkattula »

Offline BarryKirk

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #587 on: 09/28/2009 04:05 PM »
I suspect, when working ME thrusters are developed, the efficiency will vary based on the direction of thrust.

Let me explain what I'm talking about.

There is a certain amount of energy associated with an object in orbit.  I do not believe that a ME will be capable of pushing an object on the ground into orbit using less energy than is associated with the energy of that orbit.

Therefore, although a ME thruster may have some non local characteristics, it will most likely have some local characteristics depending on the gravitational potential well it is operating in.

Just a gut feeling with nothing behind it, other than the feeling that conservation of energy must hold even for a ME thruster.

Offline kkattula

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #588 on: 09/28/2009 04:21 PM »
I suspect, when working ME thrusters are developed, the efficiency will vary based on the direction of thrust.

Let me explain what I'm talking about.

There is a certain amount of energy associated with an object in orbit.  I do not believe that a ME will be capable of pushing an object on the ground into orbit using less energy than is associated with the energy of that orbit.

Therefore, although a ME thruster may have some non local characteristics, it will most likely have some local characteristics depending on the gravitational potential well it is operating in.

Just a gut feeling with nothing behind it, other than the feeling that conservation of energy must hold even for a ME thruster.

Beats me, but have you considered it from the point of view of conservation of energy for the entire Universe?

I'm still sceptical of the theory, but not having done any detailed research, not prepared to dismiss it out of hand.  Would be very happy if it proved out to practical use.

Offline 93143

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #589 on: 09/28/2009 04:30 PM »
There is a certain amount of energy associated with an object in orbit.  I do not believe that a ME will be capable of pushing an object on the ground into orbit using less energy than is associated with the energy of that orbit.

Remember, kinetic energy is relative.  As an example, from rest the energy associated with 0.1 m/s of delta-V is 0.005 J/kg.  At 7.5 km/s, the energy associated with 0.1 m/s is about 750 J/kg.  The key point is that the lower the velocity difference between an engine and its reaction mass, the lower the required energy output gets.  This is the Isp principle.

The reaction mass is distant matter.  Plenty of distant matter is moving at very close to whatever reasonable speed you want to go.

From the perspective of the drive, this means you do a small amount of positive work on that distant matter, causing it to move slowly in the direction opposite your thrust vector.

From the ground, the distant matter slows down slightly, doing a large amount of positive work on the already fast-moving M-E drive.

Ironically, this means that if you calculate based on exhaust velocity, the Isp of a Mach-effect drive is unimaginably low...

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #590 on: 09/28/2009 04:32 PM »
Yeah, the basic assumptions that the Mach effect thruster acts under just don't seem to have much basis in anything but wishful thinking. I understand how they get around "conservation of momentum" by saying that it is conserved in the whole universe, but it just doesn't fly with my physical intuition. I mean, faith in local conservation of momentum was the only evidence we had for the existence of neutrinos for a couple decades. The locality of conservation laws is the basis of modern physics.

That being said, if the effect works (against all odds), then it'd be awesome. That's why it feels like mostly wishful thinking. Then again, high-temperature superconductors aren't supposed to work theoretically, but they do.
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Offline 93143

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #591 on: 09/28/2009 04:51 PM »
The locality of conservation laws is the basis of modern physics.

How is GI field theory (which is grounded in GRT, by the way) fundamentally less plausible than universal gravitation?  It's not your garden-variety inverse square field, but it's still just field theory.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2009 04:55 PM by 93143 »

Offline BarryKirk

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #592 on: 09/28/2009 05:30 PM »
Well... Assuming that the experimental results by Woodward and other is correct, and their is good reason to assume that they are.

Something is going on that mainstream theory is missing.

The real question is what is going on and can we leverage that into a useful technology.

Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #593 on: 09/28/2009 06:24 PM »

NOTE: 75 horsepower = 100 kW. Thus a 500 kW car engine is 375 hp, which is pretty typical for your top of the line sports cars.

au contraire, but 1 metric hp = 75 kgf.m/s  (735.5 W) and an old-school horse-power is 550 ft.lb/s (745.7 W.) Thus 75 hp isn't 100 kW, but just 55.164 kW. That's still pretty respectable. I have heard of a car with 750 hp under the hood. Of course what actually is converted into power on the road is substantially less due to thermodynamic & drive-train inefficiencies. Better efficiencies are possible, but for rather different engine configurations.

Sorry guys, but you are both in error.  Using the average of your own conversion factors for converting watts to horse-power, we get ~740 Watts/h-p.   We then calculate that 100,000 Watts / 740 Watts/hp = 135.15 h-p. 
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #594 on: 09/28/2009 06:27 PM »
You know, these conversion factors don't really matter when we're nonchalantly throwing out improvements of three orders of magnitude.
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Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #595 on: 09/29/2009 03:21 AM »
You know, these conversion factors don't really matter when we're nonchalantly throwing out improvements of three orders of magnitude.

Very true!  However the engineer in me just couldn't let it pass without correction.  :)

BTW if folks are having trouble wrapping themselves around the idea of nonlocality when it comes to M-E energy and momentum conservation, perhaps they need to spend some time thinking about QM entanglements and John Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of QM.  In fact, take a look at the presentations at Cramer's 75th Birthday Symposium/Program section and the Next Big Future's article on Cramer's retrocausal experiment.  If this exeriment is successful, it would butress Woodward's arguments a great deal.

http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~lisa/CramerSymposium/

http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/09/john-cramers-retrocausal-experiments.html

You see, this is where QM and GRT are already starting to meet and this juncture could supply a ready explanation for how the M-E transfers energy and momentum effectively instantaneously via gravinertial waves to/from the rest of the casually connected mass/energy in the universe...

Edit: A Follow up note.  Have you ever wondered what I really mean when I say "causally connected universe"?  If Dr. Cramer's retrocausality idea is correct, which implies that his Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is correct, then at the moment of the big bang ~13.7 billion years ago when all the hydrogen and helium ions in THIS universe were created, their inertial masses could have been QM entangled never to be pulled asunder.  This QM reality could be at the heart of Mach’s principle and it could be why accelerating a local mass can backward accelerate all the rest of the mass/energy in the universe in near zero time.

BTW, we may still have to evoke a hyperdimensional (greater than 4D) explanations for the origins of QM entanglements as envisioned by 11D String Theoreticians, and as noted by Dr. Ruth Kastner in her Cramer Symposium “Quantum Liar” presentation, see below summary page.  I.e., energy & momentum transfer interactions “are transfer points of energy resulting from atemporal, a-spatial transactions”.  Thus we return to GRT’s concept of spacetime where past, present and future all coexist equally together in an atemporal and a-spatial manner.  So as Einstein once said; “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

"1.  Photons do not move in trajectories, in acorpuscular sense, along one or the other arm of the MZI. They are transfer points of energy, etc. resulting from atemporal, a-spatial transactions.

2.  Transactions can project out a subsystem (e.g., absorption by one or the other atom)

3.  or, they can involve the entire system (detectionat D and measurement of spin along y)"
« Last Edit: 09/30/2009 06:06 PM by Star-Drive »
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Offline cuddihy

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #596 on: 09/30/2009 02:40 AM »
You know, these conversion factors don't really matter when we're nonchalantly throwing out improvements of three orders of magnitude.

Isn't it 4 orders of magnitude over what has been demonstrated?

And that actually puts it currently into the "less technically certain than the space elevator" column, as that only requires a 2 order of magnitude improvement in demonstrated materiel properties like tensile strength.

Anyway, it does seem kind of premature to assume that expending lots of resources in the direction of capacitor research could necessarily produce these results.

We've been looking for a similar increase in tokamok compression factors for about that long at a far higher cost and have been unable to achieve despite the resources spent.

It's not exactly like there's currently a dearth of research into improving capacitor dielectics, admittedly in a divergent direction though.

I'm not saying the research shouldn't be done --it's astounding to me that we're not doing more basic research in high-energy but accessible regions like this, where there a gaping holes in our knowledge.

But there's nothing to say that the 1:1 T:W Mach effect thruster won't always be another 20 years into the future just like the 1:1 Qin to Qout tokamok fusion machine.

Offline Lampyridae

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #597 on: 09/30/2009 04:24 AM »
You know, these conversion factors don't really matter when we're nonchalantly throwing out improvements of three orders of magnitude.

Isn't it 4 orders of magnitude over what has been demonstrated?

And that actually puts it currently into the "less technically certain than the space elevator" column, as that only requires a 2 order of magnitude improvement in demonstrated materiel properties like tensile strength.

Anyway, it does seem kind of premature to assume that expending lots of resources in the direction of capacitor research could necessarily produce these results.

You haven't been looking at the equations? The chief gain is not from boosting cap K, it's from increasing the frequency of the driver to above the MHz range, refining it and getting the kinks out.
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Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #598 on: 09/30/2009 04:55 AM »
You know, these conversion factors don't really matter when we're nonchalantly throwing out improvements of three orders of magnitude.

Isn't it 4 orders of magnitude over what has been demonstrated?

And that actually puts it currently into the "less technically certain than the space elevator" column, as that only requires a 2 order of magnitude improvement in demonstrated materiel properties like tensile strength.

Anyway, it does seem kind of premature to assume that expending lots of resources in the direction of capacitor research could necessarily produce these results.

You haven't been looking at the equations? The chief gain is not from boosting cap K, it's from increasing the frequency of the driver to above the MHz range, refining it and getting the kinks out.

Actually if one could come up with a dielectric with a WELL BALANCED set of cap dielectric parameters for the M-E MLTs, like a relative permittivity of ~1,000, a magnetic permeability of ~20, a well controlled piezoelectric response, a dissipation factor of less than 0.5% at 10 MHz in a dielectric that had a 1,000 hour or greater operating lifetime under full power conditions, we would be ready to start building levitating M-E test articles.  As noted, nobody in the high energy cap storage business is thinking about this kind of cap parameter mix until we show them it’s worth their time and money to do so.  And to do that we first have to make a convincing M-E demonstration using COTS parts and a much more optimized MLT or rotary M-E drive design and that will just take a lot of time (years) using our existing resources.
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Offline cuddihy

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #599 on: 09/30/2009 08:49 PM »
You know, these conversion factors don't really matter when we're nonchalantly throwing out improvements of three orders of magnitude.

Isn't it 4 orders of magnitude over what has been demonstrated?

And that actually puts it currently into the "less technically certain than the space elevator" column, as that only requires a 2 order of magnitude improvement in demonstrated materiel properties like tensile strength.

Anyway, it does seem kind of premature to assume that expending lots of resources in the direction of capacitor research could necessarily produce these results.

You haven't been looking at the equations? The chief gain is not from boosting cap K, it's from increasing the frequency of the driver to above the MHz range, refining it and getting the kinks out.

Actually if one could come up with a dielectric with a WELL BALANCED set of cap dielectric parameters for the M-E MLTs, like a relative permittivity of ~1,000, a magnetic permeability of ~20, a well controlled piezoelectric response, a dissipation factor of less than 0.5% at 10 MHz in a dielectric that had a 1,000 hour or greater operating lifetime under full power conditions, we would be ready to start building levitating M-E test articles.  As noted, nobody in the high energy cap storage business is thinking about this kind of cap parameter mix until we show them it’s worth their time and money to do so.  And to do that we first have to make a convincing M-E demonstration using COTS parts and a much more optimized MLT or rotary M-E drive design and that will just take a lot of time (years) using our existing resources.

Understand all that. Unfortunately, it's a bit like looking for the high-temperature, high-current, high-permitivity superconductor, for which there is a pretty steep entry barrier and at existing operating requirements (i.e. low temperature) not yet a significant market.

Of course if Polywell or a similar fusion effort requiring SC magnets pans out, that is something that would change drastically, because that set of superconductive materiel requirements suddenly becomes a  technology with the killer app of fusion.

My point is that rarely do we make 3 or 4 order-of magnitude leaps in material properties except by utter and complete accident.

Superconducting super permeable capacitor anyone?

Of course I guess the first step is looking...

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