September 04, 2009

Mach Effect: Interview with Paul March and an Update on the Work of James Woodward

STAIf 2007- Mach-Lorentz Thruster (MLT)Applications presentation by Paul March.

1-G Space Drive

One-G constant acceleration and deceleration space drive would mean Earth-to-moon in 4 hours, Earth to Mars in 2-5 days, Earth to Saturn in 8-9 days.

If the Mach Effect is real [mass fluctations) and behaves as theorized (with some experimental confirmation) by James Woodward and the effect scales up as expected then we can create reactionless drive.

Over a century has passed since Ernst Mach conjectured that the cause of inertia should somehow be causally related to the presence of the vast bulk of the matter (his “fixed stars”) in the universe. Einstein translated this conjecture into “Mach’s principle” (his words) and attempted to incorporate a version of it into general relativity theory (GRT) by introducing the “cosmological constant” term into his field equations for gravity. Einstein ultimately abandoned his attempts to incorporate Mach’s principle into GRT. But in the early 1950s Dennis Sciama revived interest in the “origin of inertia”.

James Woodward 1990 Mach Effect Conjecture:
* Mach's principle and local Lorentz-invariance together yield the prediction of transient mass fluctuations in accelerated masses that concurrently change their internal energy states.”

* “The resulting mass fluctuations, in both principle and practice, can be quite large and, in principle at least, negative.”

* “The M-E derivation is relativistically invariant, so the conservation laws are automatically satisfied”

*“No New Physics is involved

Woodward demonstrated in 2002 that something like his negative wormhole term’s mass fluctuation exists, for his piezoelectric stack based device lost 1.2% of its apparent weight when excited by 400 watts of 66.6 kHz ac power while in a vacuum.

MLT Output Force Scaling Rules and Energy Conservation

Proportional to the applied vxB Magnetic-field
The CUBE of the applied Cap Voltage
The CUBE of the MLT Operating Frequency
The SQUARE of the Cap dielectric constant
The thickness of the Cap Dielectric
Proportional to the total active Dielectric Mass
But Inversely Proportional to the Cap Density

The MLT LOCAL input energy required to generate a specific thrust could be much less than a rocket’s equivalent jet-power of equal power or thrust.

Every non-local Joule produced by the MLT has to come from spacetime momenergy wave exchanges with the universe’s gravinertial (G/I) radiation field.

The source of this G/I radiation field is the mass-energy contained in the causally connected universe’s estimated 10^80 atoms and perhaps the “Dark Energy.”

Published results up to 2007
James F. Woodward ~1988-to-2007 with max thrust: up to 750 micro-Newton (mN) measured, with ~25 mN verified at ~53kHz with Faraday Shielded MLT in Vacuum – end of 2006
Hector Brito ~1993-to-2005 with max Self-Contained Slepian Thrust measured: up to ~50 mN at 39kHz
Tom Mahood 1997-to-2007 with max acoustically rectified thrust developed: ~0.03-to-15.0 mN at up to 50kHz / 100kHz, measured with the U-80 & torque pendulum force sensors
Paul March 2002-to-2007 with max MLT thrust developed: up to ~1k-to-5k mN in two different experiments at 2-to-4MHz
Nembo Buldrini 2005-to-2006 with max MLT C-O thrust measured: ~20mN at ~53kHz, but claimed unexpected results

See this site for more links and research

Projected Timeline from 2007 if there was some DARPA/NASA or other funding [Note: Obama Space commission is talking about reviving Nasa Advanced Ideas group]
Recycled Propellant Propulsion 2015
HFGW Radio 2020
G/I Power Generators 2025
G/I Thermal Radiators 2030
G-Field Generators 2035
Space Propulsion (1-G drive) 2040

This is not faster than light, but it would mean the solar system would be completely open. It also can solve the cost issue of getting into orbit.

A video of a test of a Mach Effect device in operation

The Paul March Interview

Paul March works at Johnson Space Center on the Project Orion electrical power system. He also designed the nuclear-DCX (a nuclear thermal rocket design) and he has written papers and presented on the Mach Effect.

Question "I saw the prediction of a 15-25 year development timeline."

At the rate we are going, 15-to-25 years may be optimistic now, for we have been able to generate zero outside support for this M-E effort at DARPA and NASA. The idea of extracting energy and momentum from the gravinertial field for power and propulsion is just too new, foreign & quackish to most folks who control the R&D coins. So until we can develop and demonstrate an M-E thruster with at least 10 milli-Newton thrust and preferably much higher, (A Newton would do nicely.), this sorry state of affairs will continue.

Question "What are the key technological and material developments that are needed to realize a 50 MHz MLT drive?"

Key technological issues for any working high thrust MLT center around developing a high-k / low mechanical fatigue dielectric (e-r> 1,000) that simultaneously provides a magnetic permeability greater than 10 and preferably 100. The latter requirement is driven by the need to maximize the crossed B-field in the dielectric that will in turn maximize the vxB Lorentz force generated during the mass fluctuation derived force rectification process.

Question "Is there some key scaled test (500KHz ?) that could unambiguously produce enough force to prove this to the doubters?"

That is where we are currently fighting our way up the M-E mountain. Jim W. performed a yearlong M-E proof of principle test series that ended last May that showed to those who are familiar with the issues of electrostriction in high-K ceramics that there IS a mass fluctuation signal generated when a time rate of change of energy flux in a capacitor is multiplied by a constant or time varying acceleration. However since the cap's high-k dielectric's electrostriction signal is in antiphase with the M-E delta mass signal for this test series, the data does take some educated interpretation instead of just a clean yes/no answer to the question of do mass fluctuations exist under the required conditions. I can pass along Jim's summary paper on this M-E proof of principle work if you would like.

This fall Jim indicated that he also wants to build a third generation M-E shuttler device based on Tom Mahood's 1998 second generation work using all the lessons learned to date to see if a convincing M-E thruster demonstrator can be built. Since Jim has a very sensitive torque pendulum that he & Tom Mahood built at Fullerton, (resolution to ~0.5 micro-Newton), his new test article doesn't need to produce more than say 100 micro-Newton to demonstrate a convincing test of the M-E, provided one is educated in the ways of these kinds of tests at least.

My current M-E experiment is the MLT-2009 that will run at 51 MHz and uses a low-k high-Q Teflon dielectric for the vxB cap. The test article is built, but I'm currently wading through RF drive problems for it before I can start testing. Predicted thrust levels are anywhere from zero to Newtons dependent on a number of variables I have little or no control over yet.

The 2009 3rd generation shuttler device that is to be tested through the end of 2009 by James Woodward

Question "The reaction to the unidirectional force proven with the work you did in 2007?"

Actually the Mach-2MHz work was reported in my and Andrew Palfreyman's STAIF-2006 paper and even though the unidirectional forces reported where above 1.0 milliNewton, in the eyes of the scientific community Woodward's and my work is still considered "spurious noise" and nothing more. Paradigm changing takes a lot of effort and data...

Question "What is a near term achievable work that could be done in 5 years?"

It depends on the health of Jim Woodward and the time and resources I can to bring bear on my M-E work. I'm working full time on the NASA Project Orion electrical power system at JSC and until I get a break from that, I don't have much time or energy to push the M-E wagon.

Question "What do you think of the EMdrive work?"

The proposed E&M/SRT conjecture IMO is garbage. The experimental results is tantalizing, but it has to be repeated in a vacuum chamber to get rid of possible spurious error sources for the thrust signatures observed. If it still moves in a 1x10-4 Torr vacuum, then we have to explain what is going on in view of Jim's work.

EMDrive site

Question "Comment on other Lorentz force propulsion work"

This is conventional electric induction motor effect that is well understood in the current electrical sciences. My concern is over the possible maximum level of magnitude of this effect with realistic power supplies that a satellite can provide. In other words its merits have yet to be proven, to me at least.

Question "What is useful background information to understand this work?"

Dr. Woodward's California State University web page which has an excellent write up on his M-E conjecture. See: and first check out his "Gravitation" page and his "Origins of Inertia" essays.

"How much budget is needed for the third generation shuttler device ? Is that in hand ?"

Dr. Woodward has already fabricated the third gen parts, see attached picture, and he just needs a few weeks in his Fullerton lab to assemble them and then install the new test article in his ARC-Lite torque pendulum/vacuum chamber test rig before testing starts.

Question "How long will it take to test it ?"

Once debugged, the initial results should be evident within a week's worth of trial runs, but it's the debugging time that can vary all over the lot depending on whether the Lab gods are for you or against you that week. I'd guess that if Jim stays healthy he could have it done by Thanksgiving if not before.

Question "If that worked what would the next steps be for fourth or fifth generation device ?"

That's up to Jim, but you need to keep in mind that Dr. Woodward is retired and fighting lung cancer that was in remission the last time I asked him.

Question "Is it the high-k that is the more difficult characteristic or the / low mechanical fatigue dielectric (e-r> 1,000) or the magnetic permeability greater than 10 and preferably 100."

All of the above. The stored energy in a cap for a given applied voltage is proportional to the capacitance & therefore the relative dielectric constant of the dielectric so higher k is better. As to fatigue, we have found these high-k ceramic dielectric as exemplified by the Vishay/Cera-Mite Y5U, (e-r=~5,000), barium titanate ceramic blend's expression of the M-E mass fluctuation signal fades with constant usage, but returns to near normal after a rest period of days or when it is heated above its Curie temperature for a few hours. For a reliable thruster system we would have to find a least one way to extend this "fatigue" lifetime so it occurs over tens of thousands of hours instead of minutes of operating time. The large magnetic permeability is required to make the vxB toroidal magnetic circuit in the MLT much stronger so the rectified force output can be increased by the same desired permeability factor of 10 to 100 for a given mass fluctuation figure over the current dismal performance of the Y5U dielectric that has a magnetic permeability of 1.0. Lastly since the electrostrictive effect in the high-k caps subtracts from the M-E signal until the M-E signal simply neutralizes it, finding a high-k, but low electrostrictive constant material would be ideal. So the optimum dielectric for MLTs would therefore be a material with a dielectric constant of say ~10,000, a magnetic permeability of ~100, an electrostrictive constant at least two orders of magnitude down from the current electrostrictive constant of barium titanate, and a half thrust fatigue lifetime of say 100,000 hours. The only outfit that has ever played this game is I think MuRata and they were using it for EMI filters for printed circuits. DARPA and others R&D houses are primarily pushing high energy density caps, which simultaneously optimizes the k and voltage handling capabilities of the caps which is good thing for MLT caps, but they are not sufficient. When we can get some folks optimizing dielectric blends that can meet our above requirements is when useable 10,000+ Newton MLTs will start to become a reality.


There is a need to control the magnitude of the piezoelectric effect coefficient in the optimum M-E dielectric. We are still debating whether a large or small piezoelectric constant is best for M-E based thruster because that is dependent on the type of M-E thruster that is built. And that call affects whether the piezoelectric induced cap motions help or hinder the bulk acceleration of the accelerated dielectric when being driven cyclically. In either case though, the manufactures of such M-E caps will have to control this parameter whereas they do not do so in standard energy storage caps that use barium titanate ceramic as their base material like the Cera-Mite Y5U ceramic. Its piezoelectric constant is all over the barn from part to part and can vary over an order of magnitude or more in lots of 50.

Question "Is there some other question that you would like to provide the answer to or highlight so that someone reading this would take away an important insight ?"

Not at the moment but you or any other interested parties in the M-E need to read everything at Jim W.'s web site and some of his Foundations of Physics and STAIF papers including his seminal 2004 Origins of Inertia paper that is attached. After you've waded through all that you might also check out Denis Sciama's 1953 Origins of inertia papers, which Jim W. bases his work on. Let me warn you though there is still several loose ends surrounding Woodward's & Sciama's work and they rest primarily around how is inertial reaction force's momentum and energy conveyed effectively instantaneously between the distant mass in the universe to the locally accelerated mass Jim's take on this question is that it has to be via radiation reaction forces conveyed by forward and backwards in time momenergy fluxes in the universe's ambient gravity field that gives rise to inertial effects in universes that salute Mach's principle. However there might also be another complimentary explanation and that is we actually do live in a hyperdimensional realm where gravitational momentum and energy AKA momenergy propagate thru higher dimensions as exemplified by String Theory's 11 dimensional Brane Multiverse.

That's all for now and have a great day.


Successful lorentz force propulsion experiment

Nextbigfuture proposal that lorentz force propulsion could accelerate fuel to a nuclear pulse propulsion space ship.

The Frontiers of Propulsion Science book has a chapter related to the Mach Effect work. There was also a study in the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Projects.

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