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Levitation - what the heck is this?

  1. Jul 4, 2008 #1


    Never mind the UFO title. The premise of this show is that flying saucer sightings are the result of sightings of secret advanced test propulsion systems.

    The physics is at 2:15 of the video. The interviewed engineer states that "this is nothing more than 250 turns of number 30 wire. And we took the leads and plugged it into standard house current."

    The video shows the coil of wire levitating.

    Is this bunk? If not, what is going on? It is reminiscent of the related phenomenon of "lifters" which likely is produced by ionic wind. But lifters require DC to produce a strong charge to ionize air molecules. How could AC produce the "levitation" seen in the video?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2008 #2

    Danger

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    The ending of that clip reminds me so much of the opening titles of 'Star Trek—Enterprise' that I have to suspect which one came first.
    Anyone can levitate a magnetic coil, as long as there's an opposing magnetic field for it to work against. The field of the Earth is not strong enough for a large-scale vehicle to use.
    There's no doubt that there are things in development that we don't know about, and I don't know how far that extends. When I got into the game about 30 years ago, the US government threw a 5-year security seal on any new technology developed within that country. That meant that if you had ever heard of it, it was obsolete. If you could buy it anywhere, it was 5 years obsolete. I still remember when it was illegal to export a 'Missile Command' game programme to behind the Iron Curtain because the game chip was capable of running a real defense system.:rolleyes:
     
  4. Jul 6, 2008 #3
    I don't know how the coil levitates, but with little physics intuition, I'll guess it must have something to do with the interactions with the plate under the coil (assuming it's not a magic trick), because the levitation height is so limited. If I'm right with this, then the same technique couldn't be used for providing thrust for vehicles high above the ground.
     
  5. Jul 7, 2008 #4
    Ok, so it isn't just me. Thanks for the replies. I will have to watch it again and look at the plate. I suspect it is just a trick.
     
  6. Jul 7, 2008 #5
    Wikipedia has something on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyd_Bushman It is claiming that alternating current, electromagnetic induction, and magnetic forces are enough to explain the levitation above the metal plate.
     
  7. Jul 18, 2008 #6
    i think i might have an idea. they did that on mythbusters. the high current ionozes the air around the coil, and sucks it down thru the coil, producing lift. i think.
     
  8. Jul 18, 2008 #7
    i think i might have an idea. they did that on mythbusters. the high current ionizes the air around the coil, and sucks it down thru the coil, producing lift. i think.
     
  9. Jul 18, 2008 #8
    I haven't seen the myth busters show, but I believe it could have been about this thing: Lifters Which is clearly different.
     
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