Biefeld-Brown effect

NASA  —  It is a well established fact in the literature, that a force, or thrust, is generated by capacitor charged to a high potential [the Biefeld-Brown effect].  […] Although there are different theories regarding the basis of this phenomenon, there is no dispute that a force, or thrust, is generated by capacitors under such high voltages. However, the thrust generated by such high potential capacitors has been minimal and thus this phenomenon has had very limited practical utility:


The Biefeld-Brown Effect and the Global Electric Circuit

A comparison of the measured Biefeld-Brown effect and the measured global circuit electric field shows several parallels. Both exhibit diurnal variations, and both show a dependence on thunderstorm activity. Based on an analysis of experimental data taken on the Biefeld-Brown effect, a case is made for describing this effect as a secondary electrostatic effect related to the global electric field. It is concluded that the Biefeld-Brown effect is a real effect: 

Contrary to the popular scientific opinion, the Biefeld-Brown effect has been experimentally confirmed many times, also in high vacuum:

  5. US Air Force twenty first century propulsion concepts

The Abraham force constitutes the physical basis for explaining the Biefeld-Brown effect.

Our programme of measurement of forces related to electromagnetic momentum at low frequencies in matter has culminated in the first direct observation of free electromagnetic angular momentum created by quasistatic and independent electromagnetic fields E and B in the vacuum gap of a cylindrical (asymmetric)  capacitor. A resonant suspension is used to detect its motion. The observed changes in angular momentum agree with the classical theory. This implies that the quantum vacuum is the seat of something in motion whenever static fields are set up with non-vanishing Poynting vector, as Maxwell and Poynting foresaw.

HONDA R&D Institute

From the 1st of Feb. till the 1st of March in 1996,  the research group of the HONDA R&D Institute conducted experiments to verify the Biefeld-Brown effect with an improved experimental device to reject the influence of corona discharges and electric wind around the capacitor by setting the capacitor in the insulator oil contained within a metallic vessel. They found that the weight loss by an alternate electric field, i.e. the dynamical effect, was greater than by the static one:


Search for the Effects of Inhomogenous Electric Fields on Gravitation

The effect of inhomogenous electric fields (i.e. an inhomogeneous electric charge density distribution) on the weight of test masses is being investigated. Inhomogenous field is produced by applying dc bias between a horizontal flat electrode and the tip of a conical bottom electrode of an electrostatic capacitor. The equipotentials and the electric field distribution has been numerically calculated using “MATLAB” software. The test masses are gold-coated metal spheres, electrically isolated and suspended between the electrodes of the capacitor. The test masses are spheres of equal sizes but different density hence different masses. The sample mass and the capacitor are placed inside a measurement cell filled with high purity nitrogen gas. The whole apparatus is setup in an underground chamber below a large climate controlled laboratory. With the electric field on, off and reversed the weight of the masses is measured by an analytical balance. Quantitative data, such as, baseline weight and the response to the electric field will be presented. Initial analyses favor a direct correlation between the sample masses and the differential signals. Such a scaling of the signal with mass may be indicative of a gravitational signature.


In a series of papers co-authored with fellow university physicist Douglas G. Torr, the founder of PST Associates, LLC, a US Department of Defense contractor, that were published between 1991 and 1993, Dr. Ning Li claimed a practical way to produce antigravity effects. When charged with high voltage, the electric device’s asymmetric electrodes produced an inhomogeneous electric field, and generated an antigravitational effect  —


The experimentally verified Abraham force acts in the low frequency conditions. The theoretically predicted Feigel effect would act in the high frequency conditions. It is easy to imagine that the hypothetical Feigel effect and its corresponding Feigel force is simply the high frequencies equivalent of the Abraham force. This would naturally resolve the long-standing Abraham-Minkowski controversy, i.e. there was no controversy, because the low frequency spectrum is covered by the Abraham force, and the high frequency spectrum is covered by the hypothetical Feigel effect and its corresponding Feigel force, which are based on the Minkowski’s energy-momentum tensor, as opposed to the Abraham’s one of the Abraham-Minkowski controversy.

 “ Self-propulsion in quantum vacuum may be achieved by rotating magneto-electric nano-particles. The back-action follows from changes in momentum of quantum vacuum fluctuations (zero-point energy), generated in magneto-electric materials. This effect may provide new tools for investigation of the quantum nature of our world. It might also serve in the future as a “quantum wheel” to correct satellite orientation in space.” 

Does dielectric deliver something for nothing?

By now, many people are familiar with the idea that the vacuum contains energy – in fact a great deal of it – and that some can be extracted to do physical work. The standard example is the Casimir effect, where two parallel metal plates are pulled together as they reduce the zero-point energy in the vacuum between them. Now Alexander Feigel of Rockefeller University in New York has predicted an analogous but rather surprising effect that a dielectric body placed in crossed electric and magnetic fields will extract linear momentum from the vacuum and start to move: Quantum Vacuum Contribution to the Momentum of the Dielectric MediaUnlike the Casimir effect, which is insensitive to the ultraviolet cut-off needed to make summations and integrals converge, this new effect depends critically upon high-frequency and is, in this sense, more like the Lamb shift. The effect is calculated to be small – about 50 nm/s for a 17 T magnetic field and an electric field of 100,000 V/m – but might just be observable. Further reading: Alexander Feigel 2004,  Phys. Rev. Lett. 92 020404.

Momentum From Nothing?

The vacuum of empty space is a restless place. According to quantum mechanics, particles pop in and out of existence, and those “virtual” particles give the vacuum energy and can affect tiny objects. For example, two parallel metal plates will feel a minute force, called the Casimir effect, pulling them together. That’s because virtual photons with certain wavelengths cannot exist between them. The vacuum outside the plates thus has more energy, so it squeezes the plates together.

But the vacuum can also possess momentum, says Alexander Feigel of Rockefeller University in New York, and it should be possible to transfer some of that momentum to a material object. To reach that conclusion, Feigel began by addressing a long-standing controversy in electrodynamics: How should one define the momentum of an electromagnetic field permeating matter? For nearly a century, physicists have had two definitions, one proposed by German physicist Max Abraham and another derived by German mathematician Hermann Minkowski. According to Abraham’s formulation, the momentum of the electromagnetic field should be smaller in materials through which light travels more slowly; Minkowski’s formulation states that in such materials the momentum should be bigger. Using relativity, Feigel found that the Abraham definition accounts for the momentum of the electric and magnetic fields alone, while the Minkowski definition also takes into account the momentum of the material.

Feigel next used his theoretical tools to analyze the momentum inside a material placed in strong, perpendicular electric and magnetic fields. He found that virtual photons traveling through the material would have a strange asymmetry. If the electric field pointed up and the magnetic field pointed north, then virtual photons of a given energy traveling east would have a different momentum from those traveling west. That asymmetry would give the vacuum a net momentum in one direction, and the material would have to gain momentum in the opposite direction to compensate. In fields of 100,000 volts per meter and 17 tesla–which can be created in the lab–the material should move at a rate of 50 nanometers per second, Feigel says, which should be measurable.

Others had reached similar conclusions about the meanings of the Abraham and Minkowski definitions of momentum, but Feigel’s analysis is simpler, says Rodney Loudon of the University of Essex in Colchester, United Kingdom. “He’s done it in quite a nice, elegant way,” Loudon says.

However, Ulf Leonhardt of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland says Feigel’s approach may be a little too simple, as it treats the material as a macroscopic object and does not begin with the forces on the individual atoms in it.

“There are definitely some subtleties that he’s left out,” Leonhardt says, though the results may still be correct.

The quantum vacuum is the ground state of the physical fields. Their vacuum fluctuations give rise to the ‘Casimir force’ – a sticky force that is ubiquitous throughout nature. It causes parking tickets to attach to windscreens and the moving parts of micromachinery to attract and stick together. By understanding vacuum forces better one can learn how to turn them from attraction to repulsion such that one can levitate objects on, literally, nothing.  —  Ulf Leonhardt

One Comment

  1. My Engineering professors did not tell me about such things at San Jose State University in 1971 to 1973. Nicola Tesla was being researched by everyone after his death in 1943. I was in nuclear power generation not aeronautics. My uncle worked at Lockheed may have known about the “skunk works” discoveries in the 1960’s.

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