This is a follow up to the Mach Effect introduction article and interview article that Nextbigfuture had with Paul March.
Reminder: Mach Effect is based on a theory of inertia that is consistent with General Relavity that is about one hundred years old where inertia is the gravititional effect of all gravity from all matter 10^80 atoms in the universe.
If a Mach Lorentz Thruster can be made, it will enable a space faring civilization that has most science fiction capabilities other than faster than light travel.
On the Talk Polywell site where people discuss the Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion device work, there has been some points asked about the Mach Lorentz Thruster work of James Woodward and Paul March.
From a commenter: “This is making my head hurt, how does mach’s priniciple lead to variable mass for ions?”
It’s because in a Machian universe inertial mass arises from the radiation reaction interaction of the local accelerated mass with the cosmological / ambient gravitational or gravinertial field. If you transiently shield the local accelerated mass from its inertial field source, its instantaneous inertial mass has to transiently change in lock step with this shielding effect. This transient inertial shielding effect can be induced by accelerating a the local mass, while simultaneously changing its internal stored energy state. See Dr. Woodward’s Cal. State University web page for details if interested.
From a commenter: “Stuff like this just makes me mad. They are trying to get people on step 12 when they are on step 2. Establishing the existence measurable mass fluctuations doesn’t sound very expensive and is interesting all by itself. They should focus on that.”
Response from Paul March
Dr. Woodward has been doing M-E “proof of principle” tests since ~1990 and I started in 2002. In short, the M-E derivation indicates that when a capacitor dielectric is subjected to a sinusoidal time rate of change of stored energy while simultaneously being subjected to a bulk acceleration relative to the distant stars, that a mass density variation of the dielectric should be expressed at 2X the drive frequency of the dE/dt energy flux, AKA electrical power. And its magnitude should be proportional to the product of the cube of the applied voltage times the applied bulk acceleration with all other controlling parameters held constant.
The latest Woodward run M-E proof of principle test series was expanded in the 2008 to 2009 time period to include the upgraded Mark-III rotary test rig that could supply a variable bulk centripetal gee loading to the excited dielectric cap array that went from zero up to over 800 gees (~7,900 m/sec^2) at 3600 RPM. A ring of eight high-k (e-r=~5,000) ceramic dielectric caps that were subjected to this variable acceleration were then excited at 40 kHz with 2.0, 4.0, & 6.0 kV-peak voltages while the 2nd harmonic (80 kHz) mass density fluctuations were measured using an instrumentation system that included an FFT time to frequency domain measurement scope that displayed the magnitudes of the generated fundamental and harmonic signals. We found a mass density variation signal present at 80 kHz that was proportional to the applied gee loading, varied with the cube of the applied voltage and subtracted from the mundane electrostrictive signal that was also suppose to be expressed at this 80 kHz frequency but at 180 degrees out of phase with the dm signal. Data is available to all who are interested.
Now you have to remember that the M-E powered WarpStar-1 slides appended at the “Next Big Future” web site were from my third STAIF paper published in 2007 which was about the possible future applications of the M-E, IF perfected. My 2004 and 2006 papers explored the theory, math modeling and M-E proof of principle tests that had been performed up to that time, including my own Mach-Lorentz Thruster (MLT) tests at a drive frequency 2.15, 2.2 and 3.8 MHz, where I measured a peak thrust of ~5.0 milli-Newton with a Faraday shielded test article.
So yes, I was selling step-12 as you call it in my STAIF-2007 paper since few people in the aerospace community had noticed the possible importance of the foregoing M-E proof of principle work by several different investigators both here in the USA and in Argentina. However, since then we have come to the conclusion that we will have to create a M-E demonstrator that will have to levitate itself for all to see before the mainstream will even acknowledge the possibility that we are on to something that could change the course of history in a very big way. Working…
Would the EEstor ultracapacitor or some other improved ultracapacitor help to significantly increase the voltages being used in the tests and thus help boost the effect ? double voltage for eight times the effect.
If the EEStor folks have a real product we can buy next year, they could be used in making a M-E based rotary unidirectional force generator or UFG, AKA an “Impulse” drive. Since the EEStor caps are multilayer, they could not be used in a Mach Lorentz Thruster (MLT) due to Lorentz vxB B-field force cancellations in every other
layer of the cap in question, since the E-field in each layer is rotated 180 degrees. For MLTs, we need a monolithic block of dielectric where the applied E-field vector and B-field vectors always have the same fixed physical orientation. As to the other super caps [100 kw linear drive capacitors for the Z pinch and other air force capacitor research], they may work for the rotary UFG, but they probably won’t work for the MLT for the same Lorentz force cancellation issue.
From the comment thread of the prior nextbigfuture article
Qraal: “Bit of a misnomer to call it a “reactionless drive” isn’t it?”
Response from Paul March Yes and that is why I don’t use this phrase. An M-E drive requires a certain minimum amount of local reaction mass to work with, which interacts with the mostly distant mass/energy in the universe via the ambient cosmological gravinertial field wave interactions. That is why in the strictest sense an M-E drive is a “Recycled” mass driver since it reuses the onboard mass in the engine and the vehicle for each new acceleration/energy storing cycle in the M-E dielectric.
Kurt9:”Woodward and March’s idea strikes me as being similar to or based on
Cramer’s retro-causality ideas. Several years ago, Cramer passed around the
hat to fund his retro-causality experiment and that he was successful at
getting the necessary money. Does anyone know if this experiment was done
and what the results were?”
Response from Paul March
Woodward is going to be attending John Cramer’s 75th Birthday Symposium on
September 10-11, 2009.
Jim will be presenting a summary of his M-E proof of principle tests he completed last spring at this symposium at 3:10 PM on the 10th. During the same meeting, Jim has promised me he will ask Dr. Cramer about the status of Cramer’s retro-causality experiment that is at the heart of Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation of QM. Why that is important is that it provides a readymade explanation of how inertial momenergy waves propagate to/from the mostly distant mass/energy in the universe in apparently zero local time.
BTW, there are at least two other SRT/GRT/String Theory based explanations
for the instantaneity of the radiation reaction based inertial forces. The
first is that there is a higher dimensional realm beyond our normal 4
spacetime that can convey these inertial reaction force momenergy fluxes, (String Theory’s 11 dimensional Brane Multiverse), at much, much greater than our local c. This solution also provides a readymade explanation for Gunter Nimitz’s superluminal choked waveguide tests and the workings of the M-E quation’s “wormhole” term that always provides a negative going inertial mass density fluctuation that can exceed the rest mass of the excited dielectric, thus allowing the possibility of creating Kip Thorne’s absurdly benign traversable wormholes through spacetime, and Alcubierre like warp bubbles that can propagate though normal spacetime at arbitrarily high velocities that can be much greater than c. In other words the M-E can supply the functions of both of the Star Trek like “Impulse” drive for local cruising, and the “Warp” drive for interstellar and/or time travel jumps.
The second approach to explaining these instant inertial reaction forces is that the current cosmological gravinertial field was created at the moment of the “Big Bang” and an M-E drive simply extracts energy and momentum from this gravinertial field with the recharging energy fluxes required to balance the momentum and energy books being supplied by the spherical momenergy waves radiating out from the M-E engine into the cosmos at light speed c. This latter approach does put a limit on the maximum power /thrust that can be obtained with these types of drives, but we are so ignorant as to where that limit may be met that it doesn’t matter much until we build much higher power M-E units. However, this explanation does not explain the already demonstrated mass reduction effect that Woodward’s 2002 IIT experiment where his 125 gram PZT test article lost close to 2.0 grams for 2 seconds while ~400W at 66.6 kHz power was applied to the test article, so I don’t give it much credence.
From 2007 STAIF Paper by Paul March Could the Mach-Lorentz Thruster (MLT) usher in a new era in space exploration? If the nascent MLT technology scales as Woodward’s theory predicts, then it might. (Brito and Elaskar 2003; Mahood, March and Woodward 2001; March and Palfreyman 2006; Woodward 2004, 2005) It could allow us to go anywhere interesting in our solar system in less than three weeks; travel times limited only by the specific power of the available power supplies available and the accelerations human physiology can endure. However, there’s a large chasm between this vision of what could be and where we are today, for there are several MLT engineering challenges to be overcome first before we can make this vision a reality. We still need to determine experimentally what the MLT’s actual specific thrust and thrust to weight ratio scaling rules will be by constructing more powerful MLTs than the tens to hundreds of micro-Newton test articles that have been demonstrated thus far. MLT capacitor aging issues also need to be solved. (March and Palfreyman 2006; Woodward 2006), but given that these engineering tasks are not insurmountable, what new capabilities could these MLTs offer a spaceship designer?
The basic performance parameters of an MLT powered vehicle include the MLT’s specific thrust, electrical input energy, MLT subsystem mass, operating lifetime, the vehicle’s electrical power subsystem’s specific power ratio, gross-lift-off-weight (GLOW), and obtainable payload mass fraction. All of these parameters interact with each other, but the primary parameters of interest in an MLT powered vehicle are the MLT’s specific thrust in N/W and the vehicle’s electrical generation subsystem’s specific power in watts per kg (W/kg). A quick survey of existing high performance turbofan jets and rockets shows that the current specific thrust values for these engine types runs in the range of ~2.5×10^-3 N/W for high bypass turbofan jets to ~2.5×10^-4 N/W for the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) rocket. Electrical power generation subsystems run in the 10-to-200 W/kg range dependent on their run-times, which is driven by their energy source. Due to the fact that the MLT’s recycle their onboard propellant, their specific thrust could be much higher than these current engine examples and may be as high as 10 N/W or higher dependent on the desired peak acceleration and other gravinertial issues not explored in this paper. For this MLT capabilities study, a variable specific thrust range of 0.5-to-1.0 N/W was chosen to allow peak vehicle accelerations of up to 2.0 Earth-gravities (E-g = 9.81m/sec2) while allowing economy cruise at ~0.5 E-g when in deep space.
Different Designs: Unidirectional Force Generator Versus Mach Lorentz Thruster
The original thruster, the UFG [Unidirectional Force Generator]; uses piezo ceramics to oscillate the active (fluctuating) mass caps in phase with their mass fluctuation. This design predates the MLT [Mach Lorentz Thruster] and has seen significant success. The troubles with UFG design are:
a) it is limited in frequency by the ability to mechanically shuttle the caps back and forth, generally limited to kHz frequencies though there are a couple ideas how to do this in the mHz range, perhaps up to hundreds of mHz.
b) UFG’s in the past have appeared to have an objectionable acoustic destructive wave interference issue that has reduced results. Despite this difficulty, Jim is returning to UFG research in Oct.
The MLT was originally designed as a “silver bullet” to solve the acoustic interference issue. It has no moving parts except the caged titanium ion inside the BaTiO3 lattice. Unfortunately, this design did not adequately take to account the need to accelerate the entire lattice or provide for “bulk acceleration” so MLT results were disappointing. Despite this, Paul is pursuing the MLT design and should be able to do some testing on his recent build in the fall.
The rotator is not a thruster. It does not produce rectified force. It only produces “Mach-Effects,” otherwise known as “mass fluctuations.” It is therefore a proof of principle devise that shows empirical evidence for the science behind all M-E thruster work, but it is not in itself a thruster.
Look at the Mach Effect (M-E) equation from Paul’s 2009 AIAA presentation above. The M-E equation provides two solutions to the M-E gravinertial wave equation, that being the alternating plus & minus “Impulse” mass density term, and the always negative going “Wormhole” mass density term. Next, remember that the impulse term is the exciter/driver function of the M-E Wormhole term. Also note that the M-E wormhole term has an effective c^8 term in the denominator, which makes it very, very small under most circumstances, UNLESS the impulse term drives the cap dielectric density very, very close to zero, which can make it swamp out this 1/c^8
term and then go to a very large negative inertial mass density, very quickly, unless if it is constrained in some yet to be determined manner by the quantum vacuum, which it may well be, TBD. Once the wormhole term makes the apparent mass density of the excited dielectric in question go below zero, i.e., negative, this dielectric mass then becomes gravitationally “exotic” which mean that the sign of its inertial reaction forces reverses in comparison to normal gravitational matter when it is accelerated. This type of gravitationally exotic mass, if appropriately configured, can then be used to open up a Kip Thorne like absurdly benign traversable wormhole to anyplace in spacetime, or it can be used to create an Alcubierre spacetime warp bubble that can travel through normal spacetime at any arbitrarily large velocity that can be much larger than the speed of light c. In other words what we can create using the M-E is not only a classical Star Trek
like “Impulse” Drive, but an interstellar “Warp Drive” capability as well.
From the space show interviews with James Woodward:
James mentions that the wormhole possibility requires a Jupiter mass of exotic mass. So taking advantage of this possibility requires all of the science to work out and a Kardashev 2 (use all energy of the Sun) or 3 civilization (use all energy of all stars in a galaxy). Probably earlier if it was used to open a tiny wormhole for sending a Faster than light communication.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.