Chapter 11 - Experimental Results of the Woodward Effect on a Micro-Newton Thrust Balance

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Notes by David A Roffman on Chapter 11 of


Chapter by Nembo Buldrini (Research Scientist, Space and Propulsion Advanced Concepts)
and Martin  Tajmar (Head, Space and Propulsion Advanced Concepts)
Austrian Research Centers, GmbH-ARC, Seibersdorf, Austria


    Ten years before the new millennia, a scientist named James F. Woodward was starting to see signs that all matter is connected, and can interact over astronomical distances instantly.  Mach’s principle (in theoretical extension) was used to support this claim.  Chapter 11 is all about testing Woodward’s thrusters on a µN thrust balance in vacuums in order to find out the truth of his experiments.  Buldrini and Tajmar indicate results about an order of magnitude below Woodward’s past claims.  Such claims of linked matter have been put forth for some time.

     In 1953, Dennis Sciama demonstrated that inertial reaction force can be seen as a kind of radiation of action caused by distant objects on local objects.  Woodward would follow, with his equations to describe such behavior.  In the search for the mass fluctuation effect, no solid data has been found.  Based on the equations, predictions typically do not match results for experiments.  With the efforts to use Woodward’s equations for propulsion, other ideas have come forth.  Brito and Elaskar have decided to rely solely on electromagnetic effects.  These two believe in “hidden momentum,” and have built a thruster to check on Woodward’s thruster.

     The balance used in this experiment was made to measure an indium field emission electric propulsion thruster.  A force made by one such thruster can be in the micro-Newton range.  Two sensors were used.  One had longer range (but less accuracy) and the other was the opposite.  Dampeners were needed.  There was a counterweight to level the device.  Setup is based shown with a picture, but his chapter is not government owned (it is copyrighted).  All devices were based on Woodward’s equations, in which the unidirectional force should be achieved by fixing the mass fluctuations of the dielectric capacitor via the Lorentz force.  Whereas Woodward and Vandeventer recorded a thrust of 50 micro-Newtons, this was not seen in this experiment.  However, there were errors due to thermo-mechanical bending.  The device for this experiment produced 2 micro-Newtons, and not the 5 predicted by Woodward’s equations.  These results were for the Mach-5C device. 

     The next device to be tested was the Mach-6C.  It was more controllable than the 5C.  Woodward claimed it could generate 150 micro-Newtons of thrust.  Thermal errors were eliminated in this experiment.

    In another device, the Mach-6CP, the power cables were arranged differently, which may have caused trouble in measurement.  Woodward said that a thrust of between 100-200 micro-Newtons should be observed.  It was not.  The force may be a magnitude lower than Woodward said.  The “error” in this experiment (perhaps electrical leakage) is not Machian in nature.

    A separate device was latter built to test frequency and force.  The 2-MHz Breadboard Device had a dissipation factor one order of magnitude less than the other thir as well as devices in the previous paragraphs.  It was less vulnerable to overheating.  Also, the coils had a relative phase shift of 90 degrees, with allowed for maximum thrust (180 degrees is minimum thrust).  Here, a thrust of 1-6 mN was calculated, but none was observed.  However, the dielectric material used in this experiment may be unsuitable.  While there are some interesting results for some tests, further investigation is needed in this general area.  Recently Woodward has come to agreement, but said that his force was smaller than before.