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Noble gases converted to plasma?

  1. May 30, 2012 #1
    A partnership of companies known as Plasmerg and Intelligentry have been making some, in my opinion, crazy claims they refer to as a Plasmic Transition Process. Nevertheless my curiousity keeps me honed in on their progress reports. They claim they use a mixture of five noble gasses [ie. Helium(He), Neon(Ne), Argon(Ar), Krypton(Kr), and Xenon(Xe)] combined with a magnetic virtual chamber, harmonic electromagnetic radiation, and a 400kV spark to intiate a "plasma". The plasma expands 5:1 to actuate a piston driving a motor. The process is supposedly derived from the old "Pap Engine" controversy but is claiming to be a completely different process.

    On a positive note they haven't been publicly making claims and information is limited until production which is generally not they route scam artists would take if they are driving for profit. My question for the forum is: In the realm of physics, Is it possible; or if possible, what reactions would be taking place, what exchange of energy is occurring, or what fuel is being "burned"?

    Info on the subject:
    google search plasmerg, intelligentry, plasma engine, or plasmic transition process
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2012 #2

    Drakkith

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    I would say their entire product is a complete lie, or a horrible misunderstanding of physics. The engine they are basing their design off of says it uses Helium as the fuel, extracting the energy from helium by causing them to split into hydrogen atoms by nuclear fusion. That is completely wrong. (Page 38: http://virgin-engine.com/_files/USPatent4428193.pdf [Broken])

    A. Nuclear fusion FUSES nuclei together, it does not split them.
    B. Helium CANNOT release energy by splitting apart, as the products of that reaction are MORE massive than the helium nucleus itself. This means that it requires energy to split the helium atom apart.

    During the nuclear fusion process two nuclei are slammed together hard enough to make it likely that the strong nuclear force will kick in and overcome their mutual repulsion due to the positive protons in each nucleus. If you take dueterium and fuse it together the new helium nucleus has LESS mass than the combined mass of the two deuterium nuclei. This is because energy is released by this process and carries the missing mass away with it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Jun 4, 2012 #3
    That makes sense. But what reaction would they be getting then. Perhaps they don't understand their own process. Noble gases have been demonstrated to explode when mixed properly and coaxed to a plasma. Josef Papp demonstrated to the Naval Underseas Warfare Laboratory (as the Pasadena, California lab) on October 27, 1968 at a test range in California that this could be done. Several controls were in place and the test model was inspected by the Navy before the reaction was induced. There were no explosives detected in the test chamber. The resulting explosion from the test cylynder blew it apart. Peeling it back on itself like a banana peel. This reaction is claimed to be the same or triggered in a different way by the Plasmerg engine. The reactions have been proven to be real. So what is happening? Would harmonics cause an unstable state of noble gas such as helium? Allowing the fusion reaction to be more probable? << Link to crackpot website deleted by Moderators >>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2012
  5. Jun 4, 2012 #4

    Drakkith

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    Richard Feynman himself was in attendance at this event and wrote about it, which you can read here: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/comments/papparticle2.html

    The problem is that, to my knowledge, no one knows for sure what the engine was doing or what it had in it. As Feynman says in the link, it is possible the explosion was planned in order to keep from having to send the engine anywhere or having anyone else take a look at it, but was accidently made too powerful. Unless you have a reputable link, which the site you linked to is not even close to being reputable, then you cannot claim that it has already been proven that inert gasses can be made to explode after being made a plasma.

    As for harmonics causing an unstable state of helium, I don't even understand what you mean by that. If you elaborate a little I can try to address it.

    What has happened is that most likely it is a hoax. Notice in my first post where I explained that the patent provided by Papp for his engine doesn't make any sense. It doesn't even get the basic differences between fusion and fission correct. Helium will NOT fission into hydrogen unless you supply it with energy to do so. Period. And it most certainly will not release ANY energy. If it did one would have to explain how this is possible given that the fusion of hydrogen into helium has been proven for 60 years to release energy, driving the entire fusion power industry.
     
  6. Jun 5, 2012 #5
    Unstable was the wrong term to use. I meant to say energized/ionized state.
     
  7. Jun 5, 2012 #6
    On another note, just to clarify. I'm not arguing that the Papp engine was not in some part a hoax. The orriginal question was regarding the Plasmerg technology. I am not claiming any of it is valid...i'm just not discarding possibilities. I don't believe Papp could have tricked the department of the navy; also Feynman's account was biased. He said himself he was positive it was a fraud before even going to the showing. No explosives were detected in the investigation and if they had been; Papp would have been jailed. Instead it was settled out of court. This doesn't validate anything yet it doesn't disprove anything either. Papp was a quack and didn't know what he had discovered if he had discovered anything for that matter.
     
  8. Jun 5, 2012 #7

    Drakkith

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    Can you provide a reference for this?

    Not that I know of.
     
  9. Jun 20, 2012 #8
    Sorry for the delay in reply...i was on my honeymoon:P As far as references regarding no explosives detected. I have been searching but have not yet found a worthy online source referencing this. However one would deduce that if there were explosives in his engine then Papp got away with murder. He was not charged with any crime related to that incident. And Feynman settled out of court after being sued for interfering with the demonstration. The small chord could not have powered the engine yet it was powering the control board that kept the timing in sinc.
    The energized or ionized state of helium i'm refering to is the state of Helium H+- or He-ion, that according to studies by Rutherford only differs from the Hydrogen(H) atom by it's nuclear charge. Ralph Howard Fowler(1889-1944) succeeded first in creating the H+- atom. Fowler succeeded in producing the H+- spectrum experimentally. It is a spectrum the elements of which only emit when they are exposed to especially strong discharges - a spark-spectrum (the opposite is the arc-spectrum, for the formation of which weaker electric discharges suffice). The ionized Helium atom only has one circulating electron, thus i would think the binding or repelling energies of the ionized helium atom would change. Making it no longer inert. Still trying to wrap my mind around it but would this be a possible explanation to the plasmerg engine. An article referencing this can be found by google searching "M2 Electron envelope of nuclear atom, their properties and structure". I may be on a wild goose chase but I don't discount anything on opinion alone. thanks for the replies.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2012 #9

    Drakkith

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    I wouldn't call it murder, as it was an accident.

    Are you sure? The engine was never examined, so all we have to go off of is Papps word. If it simply powered the control board, then he should have easily been able to hook up an alternator or generator to the engine and prove once and for all that it was not a hoax. Furthermore, if it was powering the control board then why did he even allow Feynman to unplug it? To "prove" that his machine worked? If so, then that means there was another power source for the board. If the engine was powering it, then why did he need to plug it back in? If it was some sort of battery, then why was that necessary? Sorry, it looks, smells, and feels like a hoax.

    Helium itself can easily be ionized. That isn't the issue. It takes energy to ionize the Helium. This energy has to come from somewhere. The helium is NOT fusing into hydrogen and releasing energy. That statement is completely wrong in regards to what fusion is and where the energy from fusion comes from. Furthermore, the ionization of helium does nothing to help it fuse, so this ion of helium no longer being inert has no effect on whether or not it fuses. Any plasma where the particles aren't completely ionized isn't hot enough to perform fusion anyways, as it takes about 100 million degrees to get helium to fuse, many orders of magnitude higher than the temperature that helium ionizes completely at.

    By the way, this isn't simply my "opinion". This is basic physics that is used everyday.
     
  11. Jun 22, 2012 #10
    Thanks, clears up some confusion. Forgetting Papp existed though, if Plasmerg is a hoax, it takes a really screwed up individual and/or group of individuals that can stare a camera down and describe a process that is a hoax while at the same time not be hounding for money. They would have to be wasting people's time and blatently lying just for the sake of doing it. I'll believe its true if i see a product hit the market; at which point everyone will know about it. Until then i'm a skeptic. News whether it's a hoax or reality should come out around September this year. Sorry for my inexperience in the physics field. I have a background RF transmission and theory. This has definitely sparked my interest in the Physics field though. Thanks for the replies.

    On a quick note...I finally found plasmerg's PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS describing their claimed science and what's happening inside their piston chambers. I don't understand most of it but if someone wants to take a look it's on the plasmerg website titled "High Energy Ion Explosion of Atomic Clusters: Transition from Molecular to Plasma Behavior". It's located under the "Docs, Reading and Patents" tab, about halfway down the page under "More interesting Reading"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2012
  12. Jun 23, 2012 #11
    Some people just like staring cameras down.

    Or making superficial purportedly witty comments, for that matter.:blushing:
     
  13. Jun 24, 2012 #12
    True if it's just words....why would someone invest all his own personal money and his company's assets in chasing something that doesn't work. He would have to genuinely believe in it.
     
  14. Jun 25, 2012 #13

    Drakkith

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    Ever heard of a scam? It could be that. It could also be someone who genuinely believes that it will work due to lack of knowledge of physics.
     
  15. Jun 27, 2012 #14
    Yes it could be a scam. The Physics review paper written by their researchers though sounds like they have a lack of knowledge in physics. My question is....can anyone with the related experience to the field read the physical review paper and make an educated evaluation of what they are saying.
     
  16. Jun 27, 2012 #15
  17. Jun 27, 2012 #16

    Drakkith

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    That paper is just about the heating of a plasma with a laser and the resulting expansion. It looks fine to me, and I don't argue that the heating of a plasma using a laser can't drive a piston, but I question the fuel source. The heating of the plasma takes energy and that energy has to come from somewhere. Anything short of nuclear fusion isn't going to provide enough power for their claims of the engine requiring very little fuel.
     
  18. Jun 27, 2012 #17
    Feynman has so many interesting stories it's almost hard to believe all the stuff that has happened to that guy.


    It's pretty common for scammy psuedo-science types to link to "related" legitimate journals, especially considering the layperson would have no hope of determining whether it explains what the inventor claims.

    Seriously though. If you were on the verge of a (real) breakthrough such as the one this purports, would you really have trouble finding investors....
     
  19. Jul 19, 2012 #18
    The scam (until proven otherwise) is projecting a product release date of 26 September 2012. They claim to have currently, 7 manufacturing companies liscensed and configuring plants to produce beginning in September. 3 more companies are onboard and obtaining liscenses. Quite an elaborate scheme if a hoax. They are also claiming 3 major news companies are competing for the press release. One of which is Fox news. If proven to be a hoax, what legal ramifications would they suffer when it comes out. They currently have obtained 10s of millions of dollars in liscensees. Why would someone pull something like this? Invest most of their own savings in R&D and then scam millions, only to be thrown in jail and have it all taken away?
     
  20. Jul 19, 2012 #19
    Upon further examination of the paper it appears that yes, they are describing the standard heating of gases with a reslutant expansion. However, it is claiming that clusters of highly ionized noble gases heated by the "short laser pulse" produce an anomalous rapid expansion of a greater magnitude. To reference the paper, it states that the ion energy produced is "over three orders of magnitude higher than has previously been observed in the Coulomb explosion of molecules or clusters of any kind and indicates that there is a fundamental shift in the nature of intense laser-matter interactions between molecules and large clusters." Primarily noticed in Xe ions with reslutant kinetic energy up to 1 MeV and charge states as high as 40^+. The main body of the paper describes what appears to be a chain reaction in the cluster that affects a larger area than the focus point of interaction of intense light energy and the gas cluster. This fentosecond reaction(pulse) disapates quickly but the total expansion is greater than what would be abserved with just heat applied to a noble gass. In their engine designs currently, they are using a 400kv spark of ball lightning producing the same effect instead of a laser.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2012
  21. Jul 19, 2012 #20

    Drakkith

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    I don't think it's an elaborate scheme for a hoax. Things like this have been done plenty of times before. The key is to not let your device be proven a hoax. As long as that doesn't happen, you are pretty much clear on the legal end of things. As for why, does it really matter? It's always the same reasons why anyone does anything.
     
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