NASA’s Peer-Reviewed EmDrive Paper Has Finally Been Published

After months of speculation and leaked documents, NASA’s long-awaited EmDrive paper has finally been peer-reviewed and published:






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:

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:


EmDrive’s thrust

If we place a solid dielectric inside the EmDrive’s cavity then, essentially, we will have an asymmetric capacitor subjected to electromagnetic radiation, i.e. the dynamical Biefeld-Brown effect.

What if we do not place a solid dielectric inside the EmDrive’s cavity? Then EmDrive’s thrust is still due to the Biefeld-Brown effect, because the thrust appears not only in solid dielectrics, but also in liquid and gas dielectrics, like air in the EmDrive’s cavity.

EHD thrusters; iono-craft; Lifters


EHD thrusters, iono-craft, electrostatic Lifters, and the EmDrive are essentially the same divice, and work on the same principle.

The EmDrive’s shape is asymmetric, exactly like capacitors in the the Biefeld-Brown effect. The function of this asymmetric shape is to provide inhomogeneous electric charge density distribution in the dielectric medium. Although Lifter’s shape is symmetric, the required inhomogeneous electric charge density distribution is accomplished by using electrodes of different volume.

High efficiency Lifter based on the Biefeld-Brown effect :

The EmDrive is essentially a type of Lifter, albeit one with a closed cavity, like a capacitor. Therefore, the Biefeld-Brown effect is the source of thrust for both, the Lifter and the EmDrive.


MIT researchers study electro-hydrodynamic thrust

Imagine an aircraft that is silent, invisible to infrared detectors, has zero emissions and can hover in an eerie manner that helicopters can’t. Now imagine it coming from technology currently used to suck dust out of living room air. That’s what a team of researchers at MIT is doing. They’ve conducted a study that indicates that ionic thrusters, currently a science fair curiosity, might one day take to the skies.

Ionic thrusters sound like something you’d find on a spacecraft, and the principle is similar to that of the ion drives being developed by NASA and other space agencies. However, where an ion drive works like a rocket in the vacuum of space, an ionic thruster is more like a jet engine.

If you want to see an ionic thruster in action, just have a look at one of those electrostatic dust collectors found in many homes. These work on the very simple idea of using an electrostatic charge to pull dust motes out of the air and collect them on metal panels. What does this have to do with flying? Put your hand against the grille of the dust collector and you’ll feel a very slight breeze – despite the fact that the collector has no moving parts. What’s moving it? Ionic wind.

The proper name for “ionic wind” is ElectroHydroDynamic (EHD) thrust. It’s been known since the 18th century that electricity can kick up a tiny air movement, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that EHD was identified and developed by scientists and engineers such as air pioneer Major Alexander Prokofieff de Seversky, who developed much of the physics and patented the basic technology.

Severskey used EHD to propel what he called an “ionocraft,” which are still built by students and hobbyists to this day. It works by using an negative anode to charge air particles. These charged particles or ions are drawn down to a positively charged cathode. As the ions move toward the cathode, they bump into other air molecules and push them down, creating the ionic wind.

In a working model, such as the one used by the MIT team, the anode is called the “emitter” and is made from a thin copper electrode. The cathode is of a thicker aluminum tube called a “collector.” These are mounted with a gap between them using a very light framework and powered by means of a wire connected to an outside electricity source.

Seeing an ionocraft in flight is slightly unnerving. Ionocraft aren’t very large, being little more than bench top models, but when they take off, they don’t make a sound. Instead, they float up and hover on the wispy breeze forced down by the ion stream. The ionocraft can even be steered by varying the voltage, to turn and tip it like a helicopter.

In the ‘60s, the ionocraft seemed like a revolution in aviation. There was talk about them being used in all sorts of small aircraft, and the military were interested because ionocraft give off no heat, so there’s no infrared signature. Ionocraft were seen as replacing helicopters, as silent commuter ferries, as craft capable of operating at the edge of space, as traffic monitors or anti-missile platforms.

The problem was, the technology didn’t scale very well. What worked for a small model that was built like a kite didn’t do at all well as the ionocraft got bigger. It couldn’t even carry its own power supply, so it wasn’t long before ionic thrusters became the denizens of science fairs and the obsession of anti-gravity cultists.

Where MIT came in was at the point that the researchers realized that very few rigorous studies of ionic wind as a viable propulsion system had ever been carried out, and exactly what the ionic thruster is capable of hadn’t been measured. So, they devised a test where an ionocraft was hung under a digital scale and tens of thousands of volts with enough amperage to run a light bulb were run through the craft.

The results were surprising. The team discovered that the ionic thruster turned out to be remarkably efficient compared to, for example, jet engines. Where a jet produces two newtons of thrust per kilowatt, the ionic thruster punched out 110 newtons per kilowatt. Furthermore, the thruster was most efficient at low thrust, which meant that power wasn’t being wasted.

“It’s kind of surprising, but if you have a high-velocity jet, you leave in your wake a load of wasted kinetic energy,” said Steven Barrett, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “So you want as low-velocity a jet as you can, while still producing enough thrust.”

Despite these promising findings, don’t expect to see any ionocraft in the skies soon. One problem with ionic propulsion is that even with its remarkable efficiency, it requires incredible amounts of voltage. Even a small craft would need megavolts to lift it, so a lot of work needs to be done to build up thrust while bringing down powerplant weight.

However, the characteristics of the ionic thruster means that increasing its thrust means increasing the gap between the anode and cathode. For an ionocraft to get off the ground with its own power supply and payload, the engine would need to be so large that the craft would be inside the engine. What that means is that an ionocraft would probably be large, round, carry its workings and payload in a bulgy middle section, and take off in vertical silence. In other words, we might one day see flying saucers.



  1. tldr Thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggested that the system was consistently performing at 1.2±0.1  mN/kW, which was very close to the average impulsive performance measured in air…The current state-of–the-art thrust to power for a Hall thruster is on the order of 60  mN/kW. This is an order of magnitude higher than the test article evaluated during the course of this vacuum campaign; however, for missions with very large delta-v requirements, having a propellant consumption rate of zero could offset the higher power requirements. The 1.2  mN/kW performance parameter is over two orders of magnitude higher than other forms of “zero-propellant” propulsion, such as light sails, laser propulsion, and photon rockets having thrust-to-power levels in the 3.33–6.67  μN/kW (or 0.0033–0.0067  mN/kW) range.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. All the research done by MIT and others on ion propulsion ,and other types of electro static And electro magnetic propulsion, is Quite encouraging, but they should study the Hamel generator, for it would solve the high power consumption needed to fly these types of craft….. For the hamel generator uses simple magnets to generate EM power.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s