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Impact of magnetic field on a dirty plasma.

  1. May 4, 2014 #1
    Impact of magnetic field on a "dirty" plasma.

    This follows on from an earlier post of mine, which is now closed. I can also now disclose that it refers to my UK Patent Application GB1312183.5, which claims (in essence) that a linear motor can be used as a compressor for a jet engine.

    That patent is due to expire soon and unfortunately I have experienced great difficulty in finding anyone (i.e. universities or the like) willing to assess my proposal independently, even though I was willing to pay reasonable consultancy fees. Support for innovation in the UK sucks and I suspect that the same is true of other countries. I would have a go at building my own prototype but I have not even been able to find suppliers of electromagnets, nor do I have a "garden shed" available, so I am really reliant on others to help me out.

    So I hope that someone is this forum is able and willing to state with some confidence whether or not my idea is viable, so that I can better decide how to proceed.

    In a nutshell, when I was at school many years ago, I conducted a simple experiment in which I demonstrated that a match flame would be extinguished by a modest collapsing magnetic field just a few centimetres away. Sorry but I can't recall all of the details now but the coil had perhaps a hundred turns of thin copper wire and the relevant capacitor that was discharged through it was 'small'. I had also been reading about linear motors at the time and consequently realised that it may be possible to construct a jet engine on that basis. However I was too young to apply for a patent then and as I had better things to do during my teenage years I forgot about the whole thing until a few years ago.

    I have done what research I can but it seems - rather surprisingly - that there have been very few studies conducted on the impact of (changing) magnetic fields on plasmas, particularly "dirty" ones that may contain a large proportion of non-ionised particles. What little evidence there is suggests that burning hydrocarbon fuels may produce a greater degree of ionisation than one might expect but that is about all I can establish.

    It seems to me that even though a flame or the like may only be partially ionised, that in fact what happens is that the particles in question may change state between neutral/ionised quite frequently, according to the collision rate involved I expect. So a more accurate view of the whole issue may be to consider that ALL of the particles ARE ionised, for much of the time - and that model may well explain how a modest magnetic flux is able to have such a significant impact on the burning gas as a whole.

    So if anyone could conduct some suitable experiments (ideally) or alternatively assess this proposal from a theoretical perspective then I would be very grateful.

    Thanks ...

  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2014 #2


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  4. May 5, 2014 #3
    Thanks for that - I have had great difficultly in finding such publications.

    However it is still not clear to me just how much impact a magnetic field may have during a combustion process, particularly when the field itself is changing. So I would still welcome some insights in that area.

  5. May 6, 2014 #4
    Unfortunately having access to scientific research is costly unless you are working for a company R&D group or university. But you can at least read the abstracts at www.sciencedirect.com (specifically the journals 'combustion and flame' and the proceedings of the combustion institute)

    The interest in this research fluctuates, but I see quite some research groups now working on flame - electric/magnetic field interaction to influence flame stability. There is a focus on trying to improve flame stability to increase the operational range of combustors.
    Here is an interesting free online paper on the interaction of a flame in a fluctuating electric field:

    Not all species are ionized, only a small fraction of species, most notable H3O+ in hydrocarbon flames. The thesis of Prager is the current standard reference on the reaction mechanism of charged species (see table A-2 on page 90):
  6. May 7, 2014 #5
    Thank you! I agree about the costs and I still don't see much evidence of research on the impact of dynamic magnetic fields - not even on plasmas proper.

    However I have now found a supplier of electromagnet wire, so I can make my own coils I guess. I still need to find a place to conduct the experiments however. There really is very little support for individuals these days.
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