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OS:Beer glass thruster

Lasted edited by Andrew Munsey, updated on June 15, 2016 at 1:10 am.

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The Electrical Jet Engine Project

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Polycarbonate safety beer glasses (with the bottom cut out) are perfect for cheap ionic thrust experiments

Great results are guaranteed with this simple science project!

Project goal

This project will seek to develop, test, and deploy, an improved conical shaped ionic thrust cell.

The cell / electrical jet engine will be suitable for testing on a standard RC model boat / plane

150Kv cell voltage will be realised by making sure the circuit is on for less time than it takes for cell to arc over and short circuit

Pulse notes

Pulse cell at 2.2 Khz - start duty at 1% and raise until arc over occurs.

Make a note of the arc over duty - run the apparatus one step below that duty

Every apparatus needs its ideal voltage / duty / frequency combination dialing in for best results

Higher switching speeds are preferred, since higher frequency enables longer duties

MOSFET switching losses limit practical frequency to about 10 KHz

Beer glass receiver

In terms of finding an appropriate household object to base a conical cell design upon, allowing easy low cost experimentation, polycarbonate beer glasses seem optimal, for several reasons.

1) They have the optimal conical shape for the receiver end of the ion flow

2) Beer glasses already integrate a softened lip at the larger end

3) Non conductive and easy to line with foil

4) Its easy to cut the bottom out of Polycarbonate beer glasses

5) 500ml / 1 pint Polycarbonate beer glasses are suggested as a minimum size, as theory indicates larger is better for ionic cells

201-1CE - Polycarbonate Tulip Pint - CE Stamped (6)

A virtually unbreakable polycarbonate tulip pint glass, 570ml (20 fl.oz) capacity to the rim with a CE stamp. This glass is Nucleated to help increase and maintain the head of draught beers.

1 Unit = Pack of 6 glasses

Price: (7 or fewer units) £6.53 Including VAT at 20%

Price: (8 or more units) £5.93 Including VAT at 20%

If you live in America I found the following on, not quite as ideal shape, but still workable:

Cell emitter

1) A shape that tapers to a point i.e. teardrop - fluid dynamics of cell to be considered.

2) The point following the rough 1mm per Kv rule, will likely be about 15cm from the beer glass, since 150Kv is the planned base input for the Beer Glass Thruster.

3) This is a much larger distance than conventional "lifters", but of course because the input voltage will be significantly above the air breakdown voltage (40,000Kv), a larger distance between the ionic emitter and receiver, will of course allow a higher duty, and more thrust. BIGGER IS BETTER.

Power supply

Various required characteristics:

1) 150Kv output

2) Up to 10 KHz pulse frequencies

3) MOSFET driven

4) Low variable duty, in 1% increments, or less.

5) High efficiency, low power, light weight

Performance expectations

1) The conical shape and teardrop emitter combination should provide a roughly 6 fold thrust advantage over standard triangular ionic cells through reduced secondary system losses (Tecson's Vortex lifter achieved an estimated 4x).

2) The 150Kv pulse setup, should provide a 10-25 fold increase in thrust (as per the 1960s patent claims), once appropriate frequencies and duties have been validated, optimized for the beer glass scale i.e. the apparatus has been tuned in.

Overall, therefore, the Beer Glass Thruster should be 60-150 times more powerful than basic 40Kv triangular so called Lifter cells, and should function as a viable commercial prototype, as the equivalent devices did in the 1960s, before they were classified.

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The easiest application would be as a fan boat, adapting a standard RC boat of almost any type. The picture below shows a Florida Everglades fan boat - these were designed because of the low water levels, and the need to move around in very low water depths. The basic idea of a fan driven boat is valid.


0.5 Million Volts


The next step up would be a bucket thruster at 0.5 million volts. Image is self explanatory.

1 Million Volts!


The next step up would be a bin thruster at 1 million volts. Image is self explanatory. This unit is suitable for light aircraft deployment and is a viable commerical replacement for traditional prop engines.


The basis for the design will be the research found in

Article:Development of Ionic Electrical Thrust Technology. It will seek to apply two additional levels of theory to development of ionic thrust, validated by major American defence contractors in the 1960s.

1) Fluid dynamics in cell design / layout / intake

2) Voltages above the air breakdown value of about 30-40Kv - target 150Kv.

Conventional lifters research asserts it is impossible to raise voltages much above the air breakdown value of 30-40Kv. In fact rather than being impossible, methods to achieve this were validated and patented in the 1960s. The methodology is based upon the fact that breakdown does not occur instantly - there is a time delay. The larger the cell, the longer it takes for a conducting path to be established across the cell. If the power is on for a time period LESS than it takes for a conducting path to be established, the cell will not arc over.

Clearly the larger the cell, the longer the duty / and / or the higher the voltage.

The higher the frequency, the longer the permissible duty, as the absolute time period of a constant duty shortens with increasing frequency.

On March 9, 1992, "Aviation Week and Space Technology" disclosed that the B-2 stealth bomber, electrostatically charges its exhaust stream and the leading edges to millions of volts, yet there is no arc over visible when the B2 is seen in flight. This is possible because of the massive size of the ionic cell (the length of the craft, effectively) and a low duty, high frequency, short rise time pulse generator (classified). Most likely the greatest challenge of the B2 project was development of the power supply.

This public disclosure, besides the 1960s patents, and a theoretical examination of the underlying physics of ionic cells, amounts to a substantial cumulative case of evidence, that the 40Kv ionic cell voltage barrier, can in fact be broken, in much the same way as the sound barrier, and other so called limits of technology, have also been overcome.

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Linked project

OS:Triangle plane


Tim Harwood has proposed, and now outlined this project in detail, in addition to providing the base article / research. From past experience, Tim sees little point in simply lecturing a silent audience. The goal of open source projects is to encourage participation. If no-one is interested in re-creating best practise variants of 1960s ionic art, updated using modern electronics, then so be it. But this project at least provides the opportunity, and framework with which to do so, for anyone who is interested. Since all the concepts in this project are taken from lapsed patents from American defence contractors filed in the 1960s, there are no restrictions on usage of the technology.

??????? - open position

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As always, all experimentation done at own risk. Ionic thrust involves high voltages.


Article:Development of Ionic Electrical Thrust Technology

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