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Impossible engine works?


Moontanman
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Tests that have been repeated by NASA shows that an engine that produces thrust with no propellant. How it works is not yet known but it has been demonstrated to work.

 

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/nasa-reveals-new-impossible-engine-can-change-space-t-1614549987/

 

Now, American scientist Guido Fetta and a team at #NASA Eagleworks—the advanced propulsion skunkworks led by Dr Harold "Sonny" White at the Johnson Space Center—have published a new paper that demonstrates that a similar engine working on the same principles does indeed produce thrust."

 

 

 

Has anyone else read of this? I have no idea how this could work, it seems too good to be true but it has been repeatedly tested...

Edited by Moontanman
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Tests that have been repeated by NASA shows that an engine that produces thrust with no propellant. How it works is not yet known but it has been demonstrated to work.

 

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/nasa-reveals-new-impossible-engine-can-change-space-t-1614549987/

 

 

 

Has anyone else read of this? I have no idea how this could work, it seems too good to be true but it has been repeatedly tested...

 

NASA's labs come out with some crazy stuff that is rapidly forgotten about - they are cutting edge technology and sometimes they just get it wrong. It hasn't yet been extensively tested - two labs getting wildly different results (both positive) might just show that the margin of error of their testing is such that a null result is being missed. We will see when more labs experiment and try different methods and varients.

 

The site I read said following

 

If the same EM wave is travelling at a fraction of the speed of light, the rate of change of momentum, and hence force, is reduced by that fraction. The propagation velocity of an EM wave, and the resulting force it exerts, can be varied depending on the geometry of a waveguide within which it travels. This was demonstrated by work carried out in the 1950’s. (CULLEN, A.L. ‘Absolute Power Measurements at Microwave Frequencies’ IEE Proceedings Vol 99 Part 1V 1952 P.100)

 

 

http://emdrive.com/principle.html

 

I thought that EM waves moved at the speed of light. What the explanation purports is that the same EM wave (driven not just bouncing) can bounce back and forward and have a higher speed in one direction due to the wave guide than the other- thus the radiation pressure on one reflective surface is higher than the other - thus a net force.

 

This seems illogical and wrong to me - but I aint no physicist

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http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20140006052

 

 

If this is true then it could cut the size of satellites in half because no propulsion fuel would be required. They could get enough power from solar energy to provide thrust.

 

two labs getting wildly different results (both positive) might just show that the margin of error of their testing is such that a null result is being missed.

 

 

Roger Shawyer has been trying to interest people in his EMdrive for some years through his company SPR Ltd.

 

This idea was independently verified by the Chinese, and then an American (Guido Fetta) built a working model that NASA verified works as link above states.

 

There is no working Theory on this so it will likely be "speculations" even after they are using it for propulsion.

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I thought that EM waves moved at the speed of light. What the explanation purports is that the same EM wave (driven not just bouncing) can bounce back and forward and have a higher speed in one direction due to the wave guide than the other- thus the radiation pressure on one reflective surface is higher than the other - thus a net force.

 

This seems illogical and wrong to me - but I aint no physicist

 

Once you are in a medium where the speed is less than c you have to look at the whole system, because the photon is continually interacting (or, classically, the wave is).

 

There's no free lunch.

This idea was independently verified by the Chinese, and then an American (Guido Fetta) built a working model that NASA verified works as link above states.

 

The "verification" is crap when the null result and thrust result give the same answer, and yet they conclude that the answer is not zero.

 

"Thrust was observed on both test articles, even though one of the test articles was designed with the expectation that it would not produce thrust."

 

That means that there is a bias in the system, so you need to subtract that number from the answer the thrust configuration gave. The proper conclusion is there is no propulsion

 

 

There is no working Theory on this so it will likely be "speculations" even after they are using it for propulsion.

First things first.

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There seems to be enough evidence behind this proposed technology that many including NASA are seriously checking it out, as the OP explained.

 

http://guardianlv.com/2014/08/nasa-looking-to-emdrive-to-revolutionize-space-travel/

 

This is not a something-from-nothing technology. The Input is electricity, which in this case is a kind of fuel, and the output is microwaves. The problem is that this design, according to theory, should not produce propulsion.

 

This reminds me of an old joke which goes something like this:

 

The government was considering investing a considerable sum of money into a new technology that initially seemed to be promising. If valid the technology in the long run would be more efficient and save a lot of money compared to the present technology. The main problem was that the technology seemed to violate principles of physics.

 

The government decided to fund research by giving the project to two different groups to study the concept and proposed technology. The first group consisted of 100 prominent scientists educated in the related disciplines involved. In the second group were 100 renowned engineers, known for their achievements concerning the development of possibly related technologies. Each group was given 15 million dollars and 3 years to come to a conclusion and recommendations.

 

After 3 years the group of scientists presented a 900+ page consensus thesis explaining why the proposed technology was impossible, showing the details of the related physics and past experiments that could explain the failure of the related theory and concept.

 

At the same time the group of Engineers presented a 250 page report, complete engineering drawings, and a 1/10 scale highly functional working model. :)

 

In today's science IMO even scientists take the engineer's approach. If it seems to work then all-speed-ahead with its continued evaluation and possible development; and why not? Most would suggest that we can come up with operating hypothesis now, and change theories later to explain it, if needed :)

Edited by pantheory
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The paper below was written by Roger Shawyer, the British Engineer and developer of Em-drive (electro-magnetic drive), based upon information available to him in 2013. There is ongoing classified research by NASA, England, China, and probably others where even Shawyer seems to be out of the loop concerning details of such research. Shawyer's company and probably the other researching companies and countries mentioned would probably keep much of details of their present research secret for competitive advantage if the technology proves successful. The promise of such technology seems huge.

 

http://www.emdrive.com/2Gupdate.pdf

Edited by pantheory
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There seems to be enough evidence behind this proposed technology that many including NASA are seriously checking it out, as the OP explained.

 

http://guardianlv.com/2014/08/nasa-looking-to-emdrive-to-revolutionize-space-travel/

 

This is not a something-from-nothing technology. The Input is electricity, which in this case is a kind of fuel, and the output is microwaves. The problem is that this design, according to theory, should not produce propulsion.

 

This reminds me of an old joke which goes something like this:

 

The government was considering investing a considerable sum of money into a new technology that initially seemed to be promising. If valid the technology in the long run would be more efficient and save a lot of money compared to the present technology. The main problem was that the technology seemed to violate principles of physics.

 

The government decided to fund research by giving the project to two different groups to study the concept and proposed technology. The first group consisted of 100 prominent scientists educated in the related disciplines involved. In the second group were 100 renowned engineers, known for their achievements concerning the development of possibly related technologies. Each group was given 15 million dollars and 3 years to come to a conclusion and recommendations.

 

After 3 years the group of scientists presented a 900+ page consensus thesis explaining why the proposed technology was impossible, showing the details of the related physics and past experiments that could explain the failure of the related theory and concept.

 

At the same time the group of Engineers presented a 250 page report, complete engineering drawings, and a 1/10 scale highly functional working model. :)

 

In today's science IMO even scientists take the engineer's approach. If it seems to work then all-speed-ahead with its continued evaluation and possible development; and why not? Most would suggest that we can come up with operating hypothesis now, and change theories later to explain it, if needed :)

 

Nobody is claiming this is something from nothing in terms of energy. The objection is conservation of momentum.

 

And the joke is moot. They were testing a working model. The problem is they also tested a non-working model, and got nominally the same answer. That points to a problem with the testing method.

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Nobody is claiming this is something from nothing in terms of energy. The objection is conservation of momentum.

 

And the joke is moot. They were testing a working model. The problem is they also tested a non-working model, and got nominally the same answer. That points to a problem with the testing method.

 

My understanding of it is that microwaves are directionally generated through reflective focusing in primarily one direction, leaving the containment cavity, while the reaction force causing acceleration would accordingly react in the opposite direction. That's the explanation of it in my link above (different form your posting of it) as I understand it.

Edited by pantheory
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Pan - surely any change in the momentum needs to be accounted for. Shawyer claims (in my link right at top) that the geometry and construction of the chamber means that the microwaves propagate faster in one direction than the other - thus the transfer of momentum when the wave is reflected is higher at one end than the other. But the problem is that you cannot change the momentum without providing an external force - and that external force will be equal and opposite to the additional force created by the imbalance of the momentum transfer.

 

The whole concept seems to be analogous to claiming you could move a railway car by bouncing a tennis ball off the inside wall of both ends - but Roger Federer hits in one direction and I hit in the other. Fed will of course hit the ball much harder and the net force on the car from the ball only will be in the direction Fed is hitting - but Fed will also be exerting a greater reaction force through his feet onto the floor of the car in the opposite direction; in the end the car will wobble but not move steadily in one direction

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The "verification" is crap when the null result and thrust result give the same answer, and yet they conclude that the answer is not zero.

 

"Thrust was observed on both test articles, even though one of the test articles was designed with the expectation that it would not produce thrust."

 

That means that there is a bias in the system, so you need to subtract that number from the answer the thrust configuration gave. The proper conclusion is there is no propulsion

I disagree. The proper conclusion is that there was thrust measured with both setups. You can conclude that there is no net thrust due to the configuration of one setup vs the other, but you can't dismiss the measurement entirely until you identify what's causing it, even if you assume it must be due to some bias or error.
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And the joke is moot. They were testing a working model. The problem is they also tested a non-working model, and got nominally the same answer. That points to a problem with the testing method.

Wired has a new article about the drive, with the following part:

 

2. Thrust was also measured from the 'Null Drive', doesn't that mean the experiment failed?

 

Lots of commenters jumped on this, assuming incorrectly that this was a control test and that thrust was measured when there was no drive.

 

In fact, the 'Null Drive' was a modified version of the Cannae Drive, a flying-saucer-shaped device with slots engraved in one face only. The underlying theory is that the slots create a force imbalance in resonating microwaves; the 'Null Drive' was unslotted, but still produced thrust when filled with microwaves. This may challenge the theory -- it is probably no coincidence that Cannae inventor Guido Fetta is patenting a new version which works differently -- but not the results.

 

The true 'null test' was when a load was used with no resonant cavity, and as expected this produced no thrust:

 

"Finally, a 50 ohm RF resistive load was used in place of the test article to verify no significant systemic effects that would cause apparent or real torsion pendulum displacements. The RF load was energised twice at an amplifier output power of approximately 28 watts and no significant pendulum arm displacements were observed."

 

Equally significantly, reversing the orientation of the drive reversed the thrust.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-08/07/10-qs-about-nasa-impossible-drive

 

So it's not quite so simple to throw out.

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Wired has a new article about the drive, with the following part:

 

 

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-08/07/10-qs-about-nasa-impossible-drive

 

So it's not quite so simple to throw out.

 

I saw that. What that means is the inventor's idea is wrong, but maybe he stumbled on to something that gives thrust completely by accident.

 

What I'd be interested in is a true vacuum test, because it's not hard to think that asymmetric heating from a temperature gradient could give you a tiny amount of thrust. ~20 Watts isn't a lot, but it has to go somewhere.

I disagree. The proper conclusion is that there was thrust measured with both setups. You can conclude that there is no net thrust due to the configuration of one setup vs the other, but you can't dismiss the measurement entirely until you identify what's causing it, even if you assume it must be due to some bias or error.

 

One configuration was supposed to give thrust, the other not, according to the designer. Both registered a similar value. One can conclude that the design does not give thrust. Whatever thrust is present is from something else. As above, it's not clear that thermal effects were ruled out, as it was not done in vacuum.

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I saw that. What that means is the inventor's idea is wrong, but maybe he stumbled on to something that gives thrust completely by accident.

 

What I'd be interested in is a true vacuum test, because it's not hard to think that asymmetric heating from a temperature gradient could give you a tiny amount of thrust. ~20 Watts isn't a lot, but it has to go somewhere.

The next point in the article is

3. They didn't do it in a vacuum, so how do we know the result is valid in space?

 

While the original abstract says that tests were run "within a stainless steel vacuum chamber with the door closed but at ambient atmospheric pressure", the full report describes tests in which turbo vacuum pumps were used to evacuate the test chamber to a pressure of five millionths of a Torr, or about a hundred-millionth of normal atmospheric pressure.

Unfortunately I can't get access to the full paper without paying, but it looks like this random website has the full copy.

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In the summary/forward work section of the paper, it says

 

Vacuum compatible RF amplifiers with power ranges of up to 125 watts will allow testing at vacuum conditions which was not possible using our current RF amplifiers due to the presence of electrolytic capacitors.

which implies that the work was not done under vacuum. Fig 22 is clearly labeled "in 750 mm air" i.e. at ambient atmosphere

 

The early part of the paper says that the system can be run at vacuum and describes the procedure for doing so. But no mention of actually doing this. Further, they say that six days were required for setup. The abstract says the test took a total of eight days, and the vacuum prep takes at least two days for the turbopumps to get it down to a decent vacuum, but there were two orientations tested (not sure if that requires opening the chamber) and two devices (that certainly does). The timeline given does not allow for any vacuum tests to have taken place.

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3. They didn't do it in a vacuum, so how do we know the result is valid in space?

While the original abstract says that tests were run "within a stainless steel vacuum chamber with the door closed but at ambient atmospheric pressure", the full report describes tests in which turbo vacuum pumps were used to evacuate the test chamber to a pressure of five millionths of a Torr, or about a hundred-millionth of normal atmospheric pressure. (bold added)

 

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-08/07/10-qs-about-nasa-impossible-drive

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3. They didn't do it in a vacuum, so how do we know the result is valid in space?

While the original abstract says that tests were run "within a stainless steel vacuum chamber with the door closed but at ambient atmospheric pressure", the full report describes tests in which turbo vacuum pumps were used to evacuate the test chamber to a pressure of five millionths of a Torr, or about a hundred-millionth of normal atmospheric pressure. (bold added)

 

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-08/07/10-qs-about-nasa-impossible-drive

 

Read the paper. It describes how the turbo pumps are run to achieve vacuum for vacuum tests, but never points to any tests actually done under vacuum. An ambient atmosphere result, OTOH, is clearly presented. And there's the timeline issue I pointed out.

 

Further, that link says that the resistive load produced no thrust. What the paper actually says is (emphasis added)

 

Null testing is performed by attaching the RF drive system to a 50 ohm load and running the system at full power. The null force testing indicated that there was an average null force of 9.6 micronewtons present in the as tested configuration.

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