Atmospheric/space propulsion ideas

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johnfullerroot

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Hi I am not a scientist but I have a few ideas that I would like to know how and why they would or wouldn't work. Also any contributions to my thread with ideas or modifications to ideas that might work are greatly appreciated. I want to discuss lifters, ion wind and the works of Tesla as means or additions of conventional means, to produce atmospheric/space propulsion. To my simplistic understanding, lifters ionise the air to produce lift. They require high voltage and a unique configuration of materials in order to produce lift. They do not work in a vacuum but do work in gases and liquids such as air. Normally a wire is used to pass the high voltage energy to the lifter device from the power source. For a lifter to work it needs to be light weight. I have seen a few different demonstrations of lifters with varying amounts of thrust. I am going to take a guess that the greater the surface area where air ionising thrust is being produced, the greater the overall thrust of the device will be increased. I am also going to guess that the higher the voltage, the greater the thrust will be. Also it is my understanding that voltage is a bit like pressure and that in theory the small amount of power contained in say an AA battery could have its voltage stepped up to thousands or even millions of volts. So firstly is there anyway in which a lifter could be designed to hold the weight of its power source? What about if the ionising surface area is greatly increased and the number of layers (adding lifters onto lifters like a multi-storey car park) are increased? What about if the power source were lightweight solar panels? Can light weight transformers be built to step up the voltage? What about if the power source was a nuclear reactor and the whole concept was scaled right up? Also Nikola Tesla claimed to be able to transmit power through the air, if this is correct and power can be transferred through the air with technology we have today then could a lifter be made to operate by transmitting the high voltage power remotely from the ground to the lifter? If lifter technology could be advanced to the point where it can support loads then we could either accelerate a lifter craft to the outer edge of the atmosphere and then switch to a rocket engine or we could create an extremely high altitude space launch platform. Another question I have is, what would happen if a lifter carried compressed air and expelled the gas through and around its ionising thrust producing components to produce lift from it whilst in an environment normally absent of gases such as space for example? If this were possible then a lifter could continue to rise beyond the limits of the earth's atmosphere for as long as the gas supply lasts. Also if lifters work in helium gas then the gas could be helium which is lighter than air and would add to the lift during the atmospheric part of the ascent?
 
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MeteorWayne

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First you'll have to explain how ionized air produces lift!
 
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johnfullerroot

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Here are some links that should explain it.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 6237328062
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionocraft
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biefeld–Brown_effect
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrohydrodynamic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulP1UB5PIN0

EDIT: Adding a link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk2GGoMJ7NU

Here is a link to the segment of the show Myth Busters where they demonstrate that the lifter technology is not anti-gravity as many have tried to claim.
 
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Saiph

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First I'd like to say welcome to SDC.

Then I'd like to suggest (in a friendly fashion) you use seperations in your post a bit to facilitate easy reading. A large block of text like your post tends to make people just skip reading it. Granted, how you post is your perogative.

On to your ideas: The gist of the mechanism, MW, is that these ion lifters are akin to ion drives. The only real difference is that, unlike an ion drive, they don't carry their fuel with them. A high voltage upper stage ionizes the air which is drawn to a lower charged stage. This creates a net motion of air through the structure, and generates lift (just like an Ion drive).

The problem John, is scalability. You can't increase the voltage to much, otherwise you'll reach the point where you'll just arc the electricity through the air and create lightning. This is what happens with a Jacobs Ladder for instance. So to get more thrust you have to ionize more air, which means a greater volume of air must be enclosed...which increases weight. I doubt you can get a large amount of lift from such a system for most applications.

I might see some use for them as thrusters for say, weather balloons, or some innovative use of blimps I've seen covered in the science magazines.


Your final bit, about carrying compressed air as a fuel reactant... take a closer look at Ion Drives. You've basically hit the concept on the head there :) They're low thrust, high efficiency drives designed for interstellar space probes
 
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