Originally posted by humy
DeepThought is right; it is almost certainly nonsense.
The headline says it all:
"[b]Improbable Thruster Seems to Work by Violating Known Laws of Physics"
I am guessing here that the vague word "Seems" here comes from people who don't quite understand how to take proper account of error of measurement (they are only talking about "30-50 mic ...[text shortened]... how, exactly, the force was produced...."
And Fetta explanation of how it works is pretty poor.[/b]
If there is any real thrust produced, it might just be electrons escaping.
I remember the corona thruster made by a scientist buddy I knew when I was 13, high voltage produced a corona discharge onto an s shaped wire with a small loop in the center that could rotate around another conductor, using something like an indian bead for support. With 15,000 or so volts applied, the wire would spin around its support.
I remember seeing the same thing on a much larger scale at the high voltage lab at cal tech where our HS class visited one day, a million volt version of the same thing but the wire was about 2 meters long, also S shaped and it spun around due to the discharge into open air.
Don't know if it would work in a vacuum though. If it did, you would have instant electric rocket but that would not violate any laws of physics, the thrust would come exactly the same as any other rocket, mass ejected out of the ass end and accelerating in the opposite direction just like a regular rocket.
30 micronewtons of thrust could come from something like that. The dimensions shown on the device, I assume are meters? Inches? Don't know.
1 newton is equal to about 102 gram force units so 30 micro newtons would be about 1/300th of a gram force. Nothing to write home about.
Remember, the Voyagers leaving the solar system were going off course for some unknown reason? So they finally figured out there was IR emission from the atomic power supply giving a tiny thrust that was throwing a curve into the flight path.
IF there is real thrust from this device, they may find something similar. 1/3 of a MILLIGRAM of thrust could come from electrons leaving the device or simple IR from heating. IF there is anything at all to this thing.
Even if it does produce 1/3 of a milligram of thrust, I wouldn't pin my hopes of the space program on it till it could be proven to upgrade that thrust level.
For instance, the Vasimir rocket which uses actual fuel just accelerated with magnetic and electric forces would produce MAYBE 1/20th of a G of thrust which gets you to Mars in a month as opposed to more like 8 months with regular rockets.
So to get 1/20th of a G with this thing, you could only have the total weight be 1/15th of a gram. Not exactly useful at this stage of the game. My guess is it is just excess IR or a few electrons flying out the ass end just like a rocket IF there is anything to this thing at all.
How do you even measure 300 micrograms of force in that thing anyway? Have it on a long string and see the deflection? Any idea of the geometry of such a measurement?