JM Research Projects

  Stellar Drive Engine
    Part of the orignal post in 1993 is reproduced below:

The Stellar Drive Engine is an electromagnetic device for generating
unidirectional thrust. It has no moving parts and generates
unidirectional thrust based on a flaw in Maxwell's electromagnetic
equations which manifests itself when two conductors carrying
current with harmonics greater than the fundamental interact through
their magnetic fields. The vector sum for these interacting magnetic
fields is zero when the excitation is sinusoidal (which is in general
agreement with default observations based on standard calculations)
but they are not zero for sustained non-sinusoidal excitations.

A simple way to explain how a Stellar Drive works is to take two
electromagnets made from copper wire with an air core and glue
them back to back with an intervening plastic rod between them.
The importance of not using an iron core (normally used to enhance
the electromagnet's strength) is that with an air core, the
electromagnets are not magnetic when switched off. Using copper
for the wire and plastic for the intervening rod makes the whole
assembly non-magnetic. If the electromagnets have magnetic cores,
or if there are any significant magnetic materials nearby, the device
will not work at the expected efficiencies. Figure 1. shows the
arrangement of the non-magnetic electromagnets and the plastic rod.

When electromagnet one switches on, its field will propagate to
electromagnet two. Before the field reaches electromagnet two,
electromagnet one is switched off. Thus we get a travelling pulse of
magnetic pulse that would eventually sweep past electromagnet two
at the speed of light. As the pulse from electromagnet one arrives at
electromagnet two, electromagnet two is switched on.
Electromagnet two's field interacts with the passing field from
electromagnet one and electromagnet two would be attracted to
electromagnet one. (The arguments remain consistent whether the
force is attraction or repulsion.)

Electromagnet 1 Electromagnet 2

     :---:                  :---:
 : :------------------: :
 : : : : Figure 1
 : : : :
 : :------------------: :
 :___: plastic rod :___:

While the field from electromagnet one is interacting with
electromagnet two, the rod feels a unidirectional push towards
electromagnet one. In free space, the rod and electromagnet assembly
would be accelerated unidirectionally.

The situation is true while the field from electromagnet one is
passing over electromagnet two. To create the equal and opposite
force, the magnetic field from electromagnet two races to
electromagnet one to interact with it to create the equal and
opposite. But here it encounters a problem. Electromagnet one is
switched off and since there is nothing magnetic there it cannot
interact with it and so it must pass through it unaffected.

The consequence of this escaping field is that we have created local
momentum. Once all the fields have escaped the device, there is no
way of cancelling the locally generated momentum.

After the field from electromagnet two has passed through
electromagnet one, the momentum generating cycle can be repeated.
Electromagnet one is pulsed on and off again and as the field passes
through electromagnet two, it is also pulsed on and off again
generating more momentum. In theory, the device can keep on
accelerating forever if there was a method for energizing the coils on
and off in the incredibly short periods needed for the interactions to
be observable.

Because magnetic fields travel at the speed of light c, the energizing
method must be very quick so as to generate the appropriate pulsed
magnetic fields.

The device has no moving parts, yet it generates thrust. If it were to
be rotated clockwise ninety degrees and placed on a weighting
machine (that has no magnetic components nearby) we would see the
weight of the device lessening . The weight loss would be
proportional to the amount of power fed to the electromagnets.
Changing the phase at which the electromagnets are turned on and
off and the frequency with which they are turned on and off will also
register proportional thrust. The mark space ratio of the rectangular
wave used to turn the electromagnets would also affect the thrust
generation characteristics of the drive.

The Stellar Drive would appear to be violating Newton's third law
but if we look closely it does not violate Newton's laws. The
escaping fields have pulling power. The fields escaping to the left
have more pulling power than to the right because the fields escaping
to the right have interacted with electromagnet two and thereby
diminished its strength whereas the field escaping to the left is much
stronger because it has not interacted with anything. These fields
will terminate on distant objects and pull them cancelling the locally
generated momentum.

This part of the theory more than anything else allows the Stellar
Drive to exist because from a theoretical point of view, Newton's
third law is violated locally only to be cancelled globally which is
perfectly acceptable science. If the device did break Newton's third
law in its entirety, then virtually all of physics would need to re-
written and most scientists would find it difficult to accept such a
theory because of the counter evidence gathered from centuries
of work.

The excitation of the electromagnets are assumed to be from a
rectangular wave. Since the rectangular wave is merely the sum of
sinusoidal functions given by a Fourier series, it is easy to see that
in theory at least, the local momentum generating effects should start
to appear if more than the fundamental harmonic is present in the
excitation. Energizing the electromagnets with sinusoidal wave forms
merely allows the radiating of energy in the form of photons which
is what Maxwell's theory. Photons unfortunately yield virtually zero
thrust. But turning the excitation to a rectangular wave yields
extremely large thrust. The theoretical maximum is 50% of the force
experienced between two electromagnets when they are fully
switched on, turned into unidirectional thrust. The maths (not
included) conveniently express unidirectional force generated as a
percentage of the force measured between two electromagnets when
they are fully on. This percentage changes as the frequency or shape
of the excitation wave is changed, if the mark space ratio is altered
and if the total power delivered to the electromagnets is changed due
to unwanted physical phenomena (such as inductance). The designs
for practical devices give 25% maximum but its likely to be much
less than that when put into operation.

The effects are large and should be measurable.

If anyone wants to build a 'Star Wars' (as in the movie) type
thrusters, building the Stellar Drive is the real way to proceed.
Fabrication of high speed electromagnets is difficult but I have
worked out a scheme for implementing it using GaAs photocell ring
arrays fabricated onto the surface of a chip and illuminated by high
speed laser pulses (in the picosecond region) to energise it. Because
high speed lasers have low mark space ratios, the operation of the
Stellar Drive Array could be severely affected. However, based on a
consideration of total power consumed, a 100W laser shining over a
large area array (around one square metre) should be able to generate
around 1W of mechanical power in the form of unidirectional thrust
with prototypes even if the mark space ratios are low.

Improvements in the efficiency of the device can be worked out once
the physics of picosecond magnetics is better understood.

This device requires very little capital expenditure to build working
prototypes compared to work done with ion drives, large thrusters.
All we need is a GaAs chip to be manufactured and a picosecond
laser facility to test it. The Stellar Drive is not an 'anti-gravity'
machine but a proper unidirectional thrust generating engine. As
such the device could for example control the flight of a missile
without any control surfaces because of the way it creates forces
within an object, eliminating the need for complex mechanical
attitude and spin control systems. Because the Stellar Drive Engine
can be turned on and off extremely quickly, it can be used to control
the flight path of high speed projectiles where mechanical systems
cannot intervene on time. It can also be used to stabilise high speed
wings in supersonic flight against vibrations through its use to
deliver a dampening force on the wing tip where no mechanical
systems can compete because mechanical systems do not have the
slew rate needed to achieve the desired result.

Satellites equipped with Stellar Drives and a power source such as a
solar panel or nuclear battery can change their orbits frequently
because they do not run out of fuel. It is possible to think of
building dual use satellites that function in low earth orbits and at
geostationary orbits.

Because satellites need constant fuel to keep them in low altitude
and non equatorial geostationary orbits (to repel the excess force of
gravity), it is possible now to think of deploying Stellar Drive driven
satellites that generate the counter balancing force to repel an excess
gravity vector. These satellites are far more useful in that they have
much narrower footprints and deliver a lot more power to the
receiving aerials. They are also much easier to control because they
don't need complex thruster orientation/firing sequences and
associated complex orbital trajectories to achieve desired
positioning in space.

Revisiting The Stellar Drive Engine

The original post was sent a long time ago in 1993!
A little older and wiser now and time to revisit the technology.




The current prize money for posting a valid reason why this device cannot work as described
has been raised to £300 (approximately $450).
The submissions must be clearly addressed and should start with introduction paragraph

showing what you understand and describing what you intend to prove. The material
should be written in clear English, and all maths results must be reproducible in xmaxima
and/or referenced to some easily verifiable source (either Wikipedia or Alpha).
Mistakes in maths, disconnected thought jumps and inclusion of irrelevant material
receives no prize money even if you are proven to be 100% correct.
This offer started 7 April 2010 and has been extend to expire on midnight 30 November 2011.
Submissions are evaluated in the order in which they are received by the email system.
The first person to submit a correct entry and eligible to win the prize
will be published on 1 January 2012 along with the proof.

The prize if won will be paid to winner within 28 days after 1 January 2012.

The aim of the prize is to kill this project as quickly as possible if it is not viable.

Open Sourced Project 

This project is going to be open sourced as of 5 - April - 2010. There is enough funding for
several prototypes to be built spread over two years to get some numbers on this device.

Technology Jumps 

Since this project emerged in 1993, there has been many jumps in off the shelf technology
that facilitates production of a testable device. In particular high power FETs with on times
of the order of 10ns, internal resistance of 0.01R and high voltage. Also compact rechargeable AA
batteries now give out 10A or more. These two developments are sufficient to makes some
kind of make shift device with a diameter of about 1 to 2 meters for less than £1000.

The FET circuits designs will soon be published once they have been tested and the
bugs have been ironed out.
So be sure to come back later for some more news!




Copyright (C) J. Michael 2011