Examination of the Biefeld-Brown Effect for the Case of a Symmetric Parallel-Plate Capacitor

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C. L. Promislow et al. (2016), JBIS, 69, pp.402-405

Refcode: 2016.69.402
Keywords: Electrostatics, Biefeld-Brown Effect, Electrostatic Induction

The Biefeld-Brown (BB) effect has traditionally been used to describe the force created by an asymmetrical capacitor when a high electric potential difference is applied. Several sources, however, claim to have observed a similar effect in parallel plate capacitors, which, if true, could potentially be used to create exotic new propulsion systems that could revolutionize space travel. In attempting to produce and measure the BB effect for the case of a parallel plate capacitor, forces similar in magnitude but opposite in direction to values reported in the literature were recorded using several different experimental setups. It was concluded, however, that electrostatic forces could satisfactorily explain the measurements in all cases. Specifically, it is hypothesized that the high intensity electric fields produced by the charged plates and lead wires of the capacitor polarized nearby dielectric material, resulting in attractive electrostatic forces which made it appear as though the capacitor was generating a net force. No evidence was found indicating the presence of more exotic phenomena, which suggests that previous claims in the literature, regarding how technology based on the Biefeld-Brown effect could have a profound impact on spaceflight, may be premature or incorrect.

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