How do ionic wind Lifters really work?

  • Thread starter Omegatron
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  • #26
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ZapperZ said:
Can you cite any cases where this has actually HAPPENED? In all my years on the 'net (since 1989), I have never come across a crackpot who actually have produced anything of worth, much less, being educated into the way why he/she has been wrong.
Well... maybe not the "Leader Crackpots", but the "Gullible Followers" can certainly have their minds changed. You must not have tried?

You must not have heard of "grounding".
The lifters are assumed to be floating with respect to ground. Otherwise you'd have an additional source of thrust from the ions being emitted towards the ground and the charge returning through the ground wire.

But we know what that is. It's an electron source (not an ion source), and you'll KNOW when you have one since you'll need 900 C to get anything.
Metals emit electrons at any temperature above 0 K. The amount of electrons increases dramatically with higher temperatures, though, according to Richardson's Law.

You may want to double check on what is ionized and what isn't in such devices. Stripping electrons from gas molecules does not make it into an ion source.
So a gas molecule with a missing electrons is not an ion anymore?
 
  • #27
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Omegatron said:
Well... maybe not the "Leader Crackpots", but the "Gullible Followers" can certainly have their minds changed. You must not have tried?
But have you? I asked for you to cite specific proofs that this has happened. All I said was that *I* personally have never encounter such a thing that you said. As far as I can tell, without a specific, even anecdotal evidence, that then becomes mere speculation.

The lifters are assumed to be floating with respect to ground. Otherwise you'd have an additional source of thrust from the ions being emitted towards the ground and the charge returning through the ground wire.
But that what makes it extremely unlikely. To be able to emit whole atoms (ionized or not) off a solid is not easy. And if these things are not grounded, then even emitting electrons (which is usually the easier of the two) would eventually stop due to charging effects.

Metals emit electrons at any temperature above 0 K. The amount of electrons increases dramatically with higher temperatures, though, according to Richardson's Law.
The Richardson model requires that the Fermi function broadening sufficiently due to an increase in temperature UNTIL the tail end of the function goes above the work function of the metal. What you just described is not thermionic emission based on the Richardson model. And if you're thinking of field emission, this will be even worse since you will have to supply an incredibly high fields on the metal's surface to get any appreciable tunneling currents, per the Fowler-Nordheim model.

So a gas molecule with a missing electrons is not an ion anymore?
An "ion" source typically is a self-contained source that supply such a thing. The ionic breeze that you quote isn't an ion source. It doesn't shoots ions out into the air. I use an ion gauge to measure UHV pressure in a vacuum chamber. It ionizes that gas molecules and attracts them to an anode, and the resulting current is proportional to the pressure. But no one calls one of these things as an "ion source". That would be absurd, and misleading.

Zz.
 
  • #28
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ZapperZ said:
But have you? I asked for you to cite specific proofs that this has happened. All I said was that *I* personally have never encounter such a thing that you said. As far as I can tell, without a specific, even anecdotal evidence, that then becomes mere speculation.
Yes, I have seen people change their minds because of information on the internet.

But that what makes it extremely unlikely. To be able to emit whole atoms (ionized or not) off a solid is not easy.
Wait. Are you talking emitting metal ions? I think we're talking about different things.

And if these things are not grounded, then even emitting electrons (which is usually the easier of the two) would eventually stop due to charging effects.
Yes. That's what I just said.

The Richardson model requires that the Fermi function broadening sufficiently due to an increase in temperature UNTIL the tail end of the function goes above the work function of the metal. What you just described is not thermionic emission based on the Richardson model. And if you're thinking of field emission, this will be even worse since you will have to supply an incredibly high fields on the metal's surface to get any appreciable tunneling currents, per the Fowler-Nordheim model.
Ah. Is there anywhere online I can read more about these?

An "ion" source typically is a self-contained source that supply such a thing. The ionic breeze that you quote isn't an ion source. It doesn't shoots ions out into the air.
They claim that it does. I am asking if there is a way it could be emitting both positive and negative air ions into the room. My intuition would tell me that the air ions would immediately seek each other out and neutralize, but I don't have a solid understanding of the behavior of ions in a neutral fluid.

But no one calls one of these things as an "ion source". That would be absurd, and misleading.
Why would that be absurd? A device that creates ions is an ion source.
 
  • #29
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Omegatron said:
Yes, I have seen people change their minds because of information on the internet.
And these are THE crackpots?

Wait. Are you talking emitting metal ions? I think we're talking about different things.
Read again. I said "solids". I didn't say "metals".

Ah. Is there anywhere online I can read more about these?
They claim that it does. I am asking if there is a way it could be emitting both positive and negative air ions into the room. My intuition would tell me that the air ions would immediately seek each other out and neutralize, but I don't have a solid understanding of the behavior of ions in a neutral fluid.
If there is an electric field that cause these ions and the liberated electrons to separate out, then you'd have a net current going to each electrodes. If not, no dice.

Why would that be absurd? A device that creates ions is an ion source.
Because it just isn't an ion source - it's an IONIZER. The ionic breeze doesn't actually pump out ions into the air. If it does, it's plastic casing will always zap people with static electricity, and the air on your body parts that you expose it to will stand up. Last time I sat near one of those, no such thing occured.

Zz.
 
  • #30
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ZapperZ said:
And these are THE crackpots?
Define crackpot.

Read again. I said "solids". I didn't say "metals".
Wait. Are you talking about emitting solid ions? I think we're talking about different things.

I am asking if there is a way it could be emitting both positive and negative air ions into the room. My intuition would tell me that the air ions would immediately seek each other out and neutralize, but I don't have a solid understanding of the behavior of ions in a neutral fluid.
If there is an electric field that cause these ions and the liberated electrons to separate out, then you'd have a net current going to each electrodes. If not, no dice.
Let me try a different approach.

My internal model of the way a lifter or ionic breeze or ionic fan works is like this:

I have a metal wire and a flat metal surface, in air, with a high voltage source across them, with none of the circuitry connected to ground, and I raise the voltage enough to create a corona around the positively-charged wire, but not enough to create a corona around the less curved negative plate or a completely ionized path between them:

  1. Because of electron avalanches and stuff, air molecules next to the positive wire essentially give the positive wire electrons and become positive ions.
  2. The newly created positive ions will be repelled from the positive wire and attracted to the negative plate.
  3. Since they're gas molecules, I guess the ions bounce all over the place, but migrate relatively slowly (compared to their bouncing speed) from the positive to the negative electrode. I guess there's no reason why this behavior would be different in the corona region compared to the neutral, unipolar region. (Is there?)
  4. As they bounce off neutral air, but with a net flow in one direction, they impart momentum on the neutral air molecules that they hit. These now have a net flow in one direction, too, but aren't attracted to the plate, which is the only thing that causes lift in these devices.
  5. After traveling through neutral air, they reach the negative plate, where they take an electron (or two?) from the plate and become neutral again. After becoming neutral, they bounce around with no net drift in any one direction.

Is there anything wrong with the way I am imagining this? In this device, the ions would all be the same charge, and would only exist in between the two electrodes. None outside of that region.

So now, to explain what I mean by asking if oppositely charged ions can be emitted from such a device, here's a similar imaginary situation:

If I have two wires, in air, with a high voltage source across them, with none of the circuitry connected to ground, and I raise the voltage enough to create a corona around both wires, but not enough to create a completely ionized path between them:

  1. Air molecules next to the positive wire will give the positive wire electrons and become positive ions, and air molecules next to the negative wire will receive the negative wire electrons and become negative ions.
  2. The newly created positive ions will be repelled from the positive wire and attracted to the negative wire. And vice versa.

Now what happens? Do the negative and positive ions go directly to each other in the neutral region and neutralize? (Obviously in space they would, but maybe the neutral air prevents them from seeing each other or something?) Do they continue on to the oppositely charged electrode and neutralize? If you turned off the voltage, would they just kind of stick around in the air? Would they immediately seek each other out and neutralize or does the neutral air kind of keep them from meeting? Does a positive ion hitting a negative ion necessarily neutralize them, or can they stay the same charge sometimes? (With triboelectric effect, the opposite happens, I guess.) If they don't immediately seek each other out and neutralize, you could pulse the voltage source and keep a fan continuously blowing equal numbers of both charge ions out into the room.

Because it just isn't an ion source - it's an IONIZER.
So an "ion source" doesn't ionize anything?
 
  • #31
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Omegatron said:
I have a metal wire and a flat metal surface, in air, with a high voltage source across them, with none of the circuitry connected to ground, and I raise the voltage enough to create a corona around the positively-charged wire, but not enough to create a corona around the less curved negative plate or a completely ionized path between them:
  1. Because of electron avalanches and stuff, air molecules next to the positive wire essentially give the positive wire electrons and become positive ions.
  2. The newly created positive ions will be repelled from the positive wire and attracted to the negative plate.
  3. Since they're gas molecules, I guess the ions bounce all over the place, but migrate relatively slowly (compared to their bouncing speed) from the positive to the negative electrode. I guess there's no reason why this behavior would be different in the corona region compared to the neutral, unipolar region. (Is there?)
  4. As they bounce off neutral air, but with a net flow in one direction, they impart momentum on the neutral air molecules that they hit. These now have a net flow in one direction, too, but aren't attracted to the plate, which is the only thing that causes lift in these devices.
  5. After traveling through neutral air, they reach the negative plate, where they take an electron (or two?) from the plate and become neutral again. After becoming neutral, they bounce around with no net drift in any one direction.
Is there anything wrong with the way I am imagining this?
Er.. have you ever tried putting a gas in between a high voltage? Unless you have a cathode (electron) source to ionize the gas beforehand, these gasses do not give up their electrons to the electrodes quietly. If they do, we won't have lightning. The so-called avalanche effects are from electrons emitted from the metals due to field emission. These electrons trigger a cascade effect that can cause other electron to be liberated from the metals due to secondary electron emission. None of these effects are due solely to the field alone.

Zz.
 
  • #32
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ZapperZ said:
Er.. have you ever tried putting a gas in between a high voltage? Unless you have a cathode (electron) source to ionize the gas beforehand, these gasses do not give up their electrons to the electrodes quietly. If they do, we won't have lightning. The so-called avalanche effects are from electrons emitted from the metals due to field emission. These electrons trigger a cascade effect that can cause other electron to be liberated from the metals due to secondary electron emission. None of these effects are due solely to the field alone.
Zz.
As I said, "because of electron avalanches and stuff". The net result is that the air molecules give up their electrons, become ions, and fly away from the electrode.
 
  • #33
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Omegatron said:
As I said, "because of electron avalanches and stuff". The net result is that the air molecules give up their electrons, become ions, and fly away from the electrode.
Yeah, but this is a known effect. Your fluorescent lights work this way. But creating a "lift"?

Zz.
 
  • #34
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ZapperZ said:
Yeah, but this is a known effect. Your fluorescent lights work this way. But creating a "lift"?
Zz.
See step 4.

By lift I of course am referring to Lifters. Ionic breezes work on the same principle, but don't lift. I just mean that step 4 is the only cause of air flow. (As opposed to crackpot anti-gravity whatever for the Lifters.)
 
  • #35
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Omegatron said:
See step 4.

By lift I of course am referring to Lifters. Ionic breezes work on the same principle, but don't lift. I just mean that step 4 is the only cause of air flow. (As opposed to crackpot anti-gravity whatever for the Lifters.)
Sorry, but you're assuming an ion bumping into a neutral particle does nothing to that neutral particle. Besides, how much of a "lift" do you think you'll get from nothing but a bunch of ionized gas molecules momentum transfer? Does your fluorescent light bulb buldges at it ends due to such a thing?

Zz.
 
  • #36
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ZapperZ said:
Sorry, but you're assuming an ion bumping into a neutral particle does nothing to that neutral particle.
I am assuming the same things happen as they always do when particles collide. As to whether they react in any way, I asked about that. I'm sure it depends heavily on what the two particles are.

Besides, how much of a "lift" do you think you'll get from nothing but a bunch of ionized gas molecules momentum transfer? Does your fluorescent light bulb buldges at it ends due to such a thing?
Zz.
You do know what a Lifter is, right?
 
  • #37
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Omegatron said:
I am assuming the same things happen as they always do when particles collide. As to whether they react in any way, I asked about that. I'm sure it depends heavily on what the two particles are.
But they don't. But this again misses the point I brought up earlier. You DON'T get such an ionization simply by putting across a field, at least not in a controlled fashion. You can ARCING when there is a breakdown of air, gas, etc. If you want a jolt instead of a "lift", then I suppose this would be fine. So your "capacitor" configuration doesn't work until you get an introduction of an electron source to ionize the gas. So far, you seem to be relying on the assumed-reliable source from field emission, possibly from the same electrodes?

From what I have read, no such demonstration has been performed, and certainly not from a DC field. A "cascading" effect of electron generation also is very difficult to get from metallic surfaces because metals, in general, have very low secondary electron yield. So such a thing, in your configuration, is not a given.

You do know what a Lifter is, right?
Only from what I gathered in the OP.

Zz.
 
  • #38
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ZapperZ said:
But they don't. But this again misses the point I brought up earlier. You DON'T get such an ionization simply by putting across a field, at least not in a controlled fashion. You can ARCING when there is a breakdown of air, gas, etc. If you want a jolt instead of a "lift", then I suppose this would be fine. So your "capacitor" configuration doesn't work until you get an introduction of an electron source to ionize the gas. So far, you seem to be relying on the assumed-reliable source from field emission, possibly from the same electrodes?
The initial ionization is caused by random events like cosmic rays, UV photons, etc. and then the avalanches are self-sustaining, as far as I know. The conduction region is limited by the potential gradient, and doesn't extend beyond a certain point (depending on geometry, configuration) so there is no arc. Creating a non-arcing corona from a DC voltage around an electrode is well-documented and explained.

Only from what I gathered in the OP.
Zz.
They're just a very lightweight (balsa wood, etc), externally-powered setup with this effect pushing air downwards and lifting up the framework and electrodes. Some claim that there is more to the lift than just the ion wind as I described, but most respectable people say there isn't.
 
  • #39
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Omegatron said:
The initial ionization is caused by random events like cosmic rays, UV photons, etc. and then the avalanches are self-sustaining, as far as I know. The conduction region is limited by the potential gradient, and doesn't extend beyond a certain point (depending on geometry, configuration) so there is no arc. Creating a non-arcing corona from a DC voltage around an electrode is well-documented and explained.
I know about this. I even published a paper on a "corona" on the inside of an evacuated dielectric tube. However, this isn't due to just a field. There are actually electrons playing a major part in ionizing the gas. This is in your fluorescent tube. You just don't get this from what you describe, i.e. molecules of gas going to an anode and then dumping their electrons. This is what I mean as it not happening JUST due to the field.

They're just a very lightweight (balsa wood, etc), externally-powered setup with this effect pushing air downwards and lifting up the framework and electrodes. Some claim that there is more to the lift than just the ion wind as I described, but most respectable people say there isn't.
Still, I'd like to see something like this generating a lift. How about some quantitative analysis here?

Zz.
 
  • #40
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ZapperZ said:
You just don't get this from what you describe, i.e. molecules of gas going to an anode and then dumping their electrons. This is what I mean as it not happening JUST due to the field.
Then what does happen?
Still, I'd like to see something like this generating a lift.
When we say "lift" we just mean "the electrodes and framework lift themselves up against gravity". We can use the word "thrust" instead, if "lift" means something different for you. Examples:
http://www.americanantigravity.com/lifter4.html [Broken]
http://jnaudin.free.fr/lifters/main.htm
http://www.markwilson.com/ioncraft/" has a video from the 60s showing a similar device.
How about some quantitative analysis here?
Zz.
Here's the most plausible-looking analysis I know of: http://www.blazelabs.com/l-intro.asp
And here's some related patents:
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...223,038.WKU.&OS=PN/3,223,038&RS=PN/3,223,038"
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...&s1=3130945.WKU.&OS=PN/3130945&RS=PN/3130945"
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...919,698.WKU.&OS=PN/6,919,698&RS=PN/6,919,698"
 
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  • #41
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Omegatron said:
Then what does happen?
When we say "lift" we just mean "the electrodes and framework lift themselves up against gravity". We can use the word "thrust" instead, if "lift" means something different for you. Examples:
http://www.americanantigravity.com/lifter4.html [Broken]
http://jnaudin.free.fr/lifters/main.htm
http://www.markwilson.com/ioncraft/" has a video from the 60s showing a similar device.
Here's the most plausible-looking analysis I know of: http://www.blazelabs.com/l-intro.asp
And here's some related patents:
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...223,038.WKU.&OS=PN/3,223,038&RS=PN/3,223,038"
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...&s1=3130945.WKU.&OS=PN/3130945&RS=PN/3130945"
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...919,698.WKU.&OS=PN/6,919,698&RS=PN/6,919,698"
1. Having a patent does not mean it has been demonstrated to work. We have had this discussion before regarding the "free energy" machine patent and the "antigravity" Podkletnov effect in this very forum.

2. I am familiar with all those website. The 2nd one is a quack. I mean, using Barfield-Brown effect as the POSSIBLE mechanism? Notice that this is what makes is VERY difficult to tackle a subject like this. You started with what is a "reasonable" argument of ionization of gas molecules using a rather tested and conventional mechanism, but then you start citing websites that are using something out in left-field and NOT verified. This is NOT the same mechanism that you've been describing.

3. I still have not seen any quantitative derivation to justify that the ionization of just air molecules could provide such a lift. I did a quick check of the first website in case they've added something new there to show where they might have published their results. I didn't see any. Did I miss where they showed this?

4. We have a standing policy here that we tend to doubt things that are only reported on someone's webpage. One of the things we try to instill is that people should pay attention to the sources of info that they're getting, and we will rely on reputable peer-review journals heavily on things like this. You and everyone here should not settle for mediocre reporting of "facts", and should demand a higher quality of information than just hand-waving and unjustified claims.

Please note that this is one of those rare times that such crackpot links will be allowed on here, simply to demonstrate a point. Typically, such advertisement of dubious links like these are deleted off postings.

Zz.

PS. BTW, if such a device is an "antigravity", then a helicopter is an antigravity machine too!
 
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  • #42
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ZapperZ said:
1. Having a patent does not mean it has been demonstrated to work. We have had this discussion before regarding the "free energy" machine patent and the "antigravity" Podkletnov effect in this very forum.
Ugh. This has nothing to do with antigravity or free energy. You asked for examples of actual working devices.

So you don't believe that any ionic wind device really works?

but then you start citing websites that are using something out in left-field and NOT verified. This is NOT the same mechanism that you've been describing.
Then what is it? They do work. Something has to make them work. If it's not the mechanism that I described then it has to be something else.

3. I still have not seen any quantitative derivation to justify that the ionization of just air molecules could provide such a lift.
I don't understand what's wrong with my description except that you dispute that ions can be created by contact with a charged electrode?

4. We have a standing policy here that we tend to doubt things that are only reported on someone's webpage.
I have a standing policy to doubt everything that I read.

Please note that this is one of those rare times that such crackpot links will be allowed on here, simply to demonstrate a point.
You asked for them.

I'd just like to point out how absurd this attitude is, and that I've seen it before on these forums. I think you need to change your policies.

If people can't even mention crackpot devices, even while asking how they really work based on real physics, in the Scepticism and debunking section, then what is the point of this section??
 
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  • #43
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Omegatron said:
Ugh. This has nothing to do with antigravity or free energy. You asked for examples of actual working devices.
I didn't say it does. I said that just because it HAD A PATENT, doesn't mean it works! You obviously cited the given patent for a reason, maybe you want to convince me that it is legitimate. I'm giving you a reason why just by having a patent doesn't mean it actually works!

So you don't believe that any ionic wind device really works?
No, I ASKED for a description of what is going on. The explanation I have so far is contradictory and inconsistent, and I've given you the reasons why.

Then what is it? They do work. Something has to make them work. If it's not the mechanism that I described then it has to be something else.
Exactly my question! I'm not the one selling this. When I disputed the explanation you gave, it doesn't mean I have an alternative. I'm not the one trying to sell this. The websites given made no quantitative derivation that the proposed mechanism actually CAN produce the lift.

I don't understand what's wrong with my description except that you dispute that ions can be created by contact with a charged electrode?
I said that it isn't THAT easy in the CONTEXT of creating a WHOLE CORONA. If it were, why do we need a thermionic cathode IN ADDITION to the potential difference in your fluorescent bulb? Again, I'm using an established, easily found application that you are already using as a counter example.

I have a standing policy to doubt everything that I read.

You asked for them.

I'd just like to point out how absurd this attitude is, and that I've seen it before on these forums. I think you need to change your policies.
Come again? I believe that you AGREED to these policies when you joined the forum. Now think again what is absurd here. You agreed to it, and now you said "Oh wait, I don't agree to it now that I'm in".

As for being skeptical, why weren't you when you read these websites? Were you not the least bit skeptical to know that, if such a thing were valid, that they didn't publish it first in peer-reviewed journals where experts in the field can analyze and reproduce it? It appears that you weren't skeptical enough. And in case you forgot, I ASKED, repeatedly, for the quantitative derivation to show that whatever they're using to explain the lift can actually produce numbers to support what they are seeing. Do you think I'm NOT being skeptical?

People can't even mention crackpot devices, even if they're asking how they really work based on real physics, in the Scepticism and debunking section? Then what is the point of this section??
Not if they were advertized without cause. Last time I checked, I clearly stated that in THIS CASE, such free advertisement for these sites is relevant to the discussion. However, in case the policy is MISUNDERSTOOD to mean that such a thing is generally allowed, I wanted to be VERY CLEAR that it isn't! Other quacks have tried to justify their "rights" to post their sites simply by pointing out that such-and-such threads also contain crackpot links. I want to nip that notion right in the bud.

Zz.
 
  • #44
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Reading through the Kronos patent, I've found a description of the effect that sounds exactly the same as mine.

A number of patents describe ion generation using an electrode (termed the "corona electrode"), accelerating and, thereby, accelerating the ions toward another electrode (termed the "accelerating", "collecting" or "target" electrode), thereby imparting momentum to the ions in a direction toward the accelerating electrode. Collisions between the ions and an intervening fluid, such as surrounding air molecules, transfer the momentum of the ions to the fluid inducing a corresponding movement of the fluid to achieve an overall movement in a desired fluid flow direction.
If this effect can't work, they must be making money by selling imaginary products.

Using Kronos' patented corona-based technology, we have built air handlers that propel air at speeds ranging from 0 to over 1,700 feet per minute
 
  • #45
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ZapperZ said:
As for being skeptical, why weren't you when you read these websites?
Have you even read the beginning of this thread?
 
  • #46
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Omegatron said:
Have you even read the beginning of this thread?
That's how I got what you meant by "lifters" and the mechanism for it.

Zz.
 
  • #47
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An "ionic" wind radiates omnidirectionally from any coronal source. That's how the effect was discovered. Soon after this discovery it was found that surfaces having the same charge as the corona source repelled that wind and surfaces having the oposite charge attracted it. This led to a plethora of working and hypothetical inventions utilizng the effect. Most of these inventions created air or other fluid motion in a desired direction. Some, however, were more interested in the equal and opposite reaction required by the theory of conservation of energy. If air is moved by a device in one direction then there must be an equal force on the device causing that motion, and such force would be in an opposite direction.
The force has traditionally been small, and the expenditure of energy needed to create that small force has been much larger than the net effect, ie.: efficiency has been low.

The Kronos Air Technologies developments have changed that. Their units have been shown to have 10% greater efficiency than fans. These efficiencies are brought about by positioning of the corona electrodes in relation to each other and so-called "attracting" electrodes, and by power supply designs that maximize the corona and maintain it just below the point of arcing. These factors allow a greater coronal source density and result in higher levels of output wind.

The term "asymmetrical capacitor" is used to describe an effect not dependent on capacitance in the normal sense, and is probably thus a misnomer. We are not dealing with capacitance per se when applied to coronal devices. The more perfect a capacitor the less leakage there will be between its plates. There is a tradeoff between power densities, dielectric properties, and leakage.

Intentional leakage at the highest possible densities is the essence of ionic wind drivers, and the so called capacitor is constantly and intentionally being drained back to the energy source powering the corona. The more perfect the wiring supplying the coronal system, the more effective that system is in generating propulsive force. It is therefore probably more correct to speak of these asymmetric plates rather as anodes and cathodes than as capacitors, though some capacitance may be present since there is an air dielectric between them.
 

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