Brown effect: trekkie dream or bad science ?

I stumbled over this link describing what seems to be working antigravity.

From what i’ve been able to find on google, this “Brown Effect” is pretty much unexplained by our current theories. To me (if it is indeed real) it looks like propulsion without a propellant, a thing which i, being a loyal follower of Sir Isaac, have always thought impossible.

Any physics guys out there who would like to, once and for all, shatter my dreams of a star-trek impulse drive?

Thank you :slight_smile:

From the casual observation of a reasonably bright fellow whose formal scientific education stopped in high school (me), it looks more like static electricity, or some other simple electromagnetic effect.

Even if I’m wrong about that, it seems that this Biefield-Brown effect requires an awful lot of juice to move a fairly small mass. The effect has been known for 50 years – if it were significant and applicable to the real world, the topic would be covered by somebody other than the “fringe” sources my Web search revealed.

Don’t get me wrong: I get a kick out of weird science and would love to see something strange and new develop. I just don’t think this is it.

I think my sig is oddly appropriate for this topic …

What? He wants to pass 40kV through those wires? Is he nuts?

Yeah, but only 500 microamps… no big deal.

The ‘lifters’ have been discussed here several times before. They appear to be a case of propulsion by generating an ion wind effect in the surrounding air.

I’m not entirely convinced :slight_smile:

According to this the effect is not a result of ion winds. Of course the article could be junk (i wouldn’t be able to tell the difference)

Could the “lifter” be pushing off earths magnetic field?

Oh, and by the way, i tried a forum search but didn’t find anything on the subject. AndrewL , any chance you could point me to one of the threads you mentioned ?

Thanks :slight_smile:

I’ve heard it claimed that they work in vacume, but I’ve yet to see any actual evidence that a lifter has flowin in a vacume chamber. Wrapping a lifter in plastic or a bag isn’t the same thing.

The “Lifters” put out a HUGE amount of ion wind. The claim made on J. Naudin’s website (and others) is that some percentage of the thrust is caused by something other than ion wind. Yet hobbyists seem to never get around to measuring this percentage.

Lifters have been known for many decades. It’s only within the last year that anyone started claiming that they were antigravity devices. Here’s an article from Popular Mechanics, 1964

de Seversky’s “Ionocraft”

I haven’t got around to testing it, but it seems that the wires will be burnt out when such a high voltage is passed through them. Just a hunch.

Just as I thought. This J. Naudin is the same person who was backing the “Motionless Electromagnetic Generator”, another perpetual motion machine scam.

While this does not rule out the possiblity of this “lifter” actually works, this puts a huge dent into Mr Naudin’s credibility.

As to ion wind, where do you get the ions from?

Voltage isn’t what is passing through the wire. Current is what passes through the wire.

If you are reading this on a conventional picture tube monitor, you have that sort of current at that sort of voltage flowing through wires that size less than 3 feet from your face.

You frequently build up static electricity in the kilovolt range just walking around.

If you want to nitpick about it, current doesn’t move through the wire, electrons do.

Static might be in the kilovolt range, but static discharge only lasts for a small fraction of a second instead of being continuous.

I have never taken apart a flyback transformer, but most transformers have wires a bit thicker if they are to deal with high voltages. What’s that he used? 40 gauage wire?

No, the wires are thicker for high current, and thinner for high voltage.

If you look at a stepdown xfmr’s windings, you will see heavier windings on the low voltage (higher current) side.

If you are curious about those relationships, I will try to find a good educational link for you.

Urban Ranger–listen to hammerbach; he knows. I HAVE taken apart flyback transformers and built tesla coils, and they DO use 40 guage and thinner wires for the high voltage coils. A wire doesn’t care much about the voltage running through it, only the current.

And here’s a good one to start with:


Okay, everyone uses water flowing through a hose to represent electricity flow, but I just thought of a better analogy that makes clear what hammerbach and others are saying. Voltage doesn’t flow, voltage is potential. Think of a marble rolling down an incline. Voltage is how steep the incline is. Current is how many marbles are rolling (per unit time). How thick the incline is (i.e. a book or a board, or simply a thin sheet of paper) is equivalent to the wire size. Since voltage is how steep the incline is, you can clearly see that you can make a thin strip of paper as steep as a board. What you can’t do is support as many marbles on the paper as you can on the board. I think that’s more clear isn’t it?

Not bad…

Quite a few hobbyists have built “lifters” by using the (lethally dangerous!) high voltage available in old PC monitors. A balsa framework gets the weight down enough that the thing can fly. Can’t lift it’s own power supply of course.

A “lifter” is a variety of electrostatic fan (remember “ionic breeze” fan from Sharper Image,

Air is the only moving part. This is a classic classroom demo for physics teachers. Place a sharp electrode near a large smooth electrode, apply a few thousand volts between them, and air starts moving from the sharp electrode to the smooth one. The voltage field near the sharp electrode is strong enough to tear up air molecules (create ions,) while the field near the smooth electrode is too weak. The voltage field then drags ions and neighboring air from the sharp electrode to the smooth one.

In the Lifter device, the thin wire serves as the “sharp” electrode which generates the ions, while the strip of aluminum foil serves as the “smooth” electrode which collects the ions.