New Study Supports Claims about EM Drive Fuel-Less Propulsion System

There is some interesting news concerning research into the EM Drive propulsion system — an invention of British engineer Roger Shawyer. Shawyer and other proponents claim that the EM Drive requires no propellant, but is able to convert electricity directly into thrust. This is something that is considered to be impossible by many in the mainstream physics community.

A paper has just been published by two German researchers, Martin Tajmar and G. Fielder, from the Technical University of Dresden who have carried out experiments with the EM Drive system, and who now confirm measurement of production of thrust. The title of the article is “Direct Thrust Measurements of an EMDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects”. See here for a link to the PDF (full text not available for free) The abstract of the article reads in part:

“After measuring the Q-factor of our assembly, we connected the EMDrive to a commercial 700 W microwave Magnetron. After a thermal mapping of the surfaces, we performed thrust measurements with a knife-edge balance as well as with a torsion balance in a vacuum chamber. Our measurements reveal thrusts as expected from previous claims after carefully studying thermal and electromagnetic interferences . . . Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EMDrive, but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the measurements methods used so far. Nevertheless, we do observe thrusts close to the magnitude of the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena. Next steps include better magnetic shielding, further vacuum tests and improved EMDrive models with higher Q factors and electronics that allow tuning for optimal operation.”

So this is an interesting step in the EM Drive story, where two apparently well qualified, and well equipped researchers are able to measure the thrust that have been proposed by EM Drive proponents. We read above that Tajmar and Fielder are careful not to confirm or deny the reality of the phenomonen, but this study will surely add more weight to the claims that the EM Drive represents a radical new way to propel vehicles and other bodies — especially in space travel — without need for on-board fuel.

This article by David Hambling from Wired UK looks at the EM Drive, and states that there are multiple labs around the world working on their own versions of the EM Drive, and that Guido Fetta, who has already published positive findings from his similar Cannae Drive will be publishing new results from tests in the fourth quarter this year.

  • Ged

    As Spock would say, fascinating.

  • Gerard McEk

    I wonder if this effect is supported by any theory. It will be difficult to determine these minimal forces in such a way that you can exclude any other possibility.

    • Ged

      The effect is on the same general level as ion engines, and those are both real and useful. NASA measured this with precision orders of magnitude smaller than the effect–it is no measurement artifact, though that doesn’t rule out other mechanisms.

    • Mats002

      A variant of QED-theory named SED supports reactionless drive:

      There might be other theories out there supporting it also.

  • Leonard Weinstein

    I doubt if the final word is that it works (it does violate Newton’s law of motion), but I do keep an open mind on the claim, since clearly we do not have all the answers to how the universe works. However, keep in mind that it requires a lot of electricity to operate for a small thrust claimed. It would need nuclear thermal electric, or solar cell sources for prolonged operation. Solar sails can give comparable thrust for comparable mass, so even if it works, I see little advantage.

    • Leonard Weinstein

      One thought comes to mind on a cause of indicated thrust that would make it not be useful in space. The generated external electromagnetic field causes the wall of the vacuum chamber to interact with the device (if it has some magnetic steel, or if has a time varying field induced a magnetic reaction in any conducting wall material) and cause the measured force. The claimed force is only 20 micro N, which is very small.

      • Ged

        Recall that a modern ion engine runs on kilowatts of electricity to produce milliNewtons of force, and that is a much more mature tech with decades (since 1970s) of optimization behind it.

        You posit a good mechanism; easy test is to use non magnetic materials and see if it goes away.

        • tobalt

          no. Ion engines use some 10’s to few 100’s of watts maximum. They use many kV though which is good. they have the highest specific impulse available today. The drawback why the are not used exclusively is the low maximum thrust, which makes it only worthwhile for very long missions. this is the same field the emdrive targets, so if maximum thrust at 100W can be at least comparable, there are no reasons for ion engines anymore.

          • Ged

            Actually, ion engines on spacecraft are indeed kW. Deep Space 1 took ~2.7 kW to power its ion engine, similar to Dawn; anything less would not generate enough thrust to allow interplanetary maneuvers on our timescales.

            You are thinking of ion thrusters for station keeping, which are indeed that low in power and generate microNewtons of force.

      • artefact

        Others (I think the Chinese) got 1N/KW. The German setup had a very low Q value and the low reaction was expected according to some theories.

    • Ged

      Solar sails don’t work interstellar, and like solar planels, lose effectiveness the farther from the sun.

  • Ged

    Don’t forget the far more powerful magnetic field generated by the sun. If it is just field repulsion like that, it may only work intrastellar and lose effectiveness the farther away from the sun or planet.

    • Mats002

      If pushing against a magnetic field then the thrust should be different depending on which direction the device is heading at. Don’t you think they tried different directions?

      • Ged

        I have no idea what directions, but it is oscillatory, so shape would matter more. I highly doubt it is magnetic fields, but if so, it would greatly limit the device

      • Agaricus

        These devices have been tested in many orientations, and thrust is always the same. If they are ‘pushing’ against anything it must be an underlying ‘aether’, but this way of thinking is probably far too simplistic.

        • Mats002

          I understand that EMF theories are based on a field of hard particles spheres interconnected with springs and the math that goes with such a mechanical setup in our ordinary scale of life. By giving one sphere (or several in a row) a push of a certain force (energy) a wave will propagate through the field or better through the 3D lattice of hard spheres and springs. That is a simplistic way of thinking.

          Looking at the sea a stormy day and compute how water molecules move and interacts with each other and air is more realistic I think.

          Nothing is ever at rest – there is no known start state – is that the core reason for probability factors in theories? Same problem goes for the weather report.

        • Omega Z

          Maybe it interacts with dark matter which is everywhere.

  • gdaigle

    The investigator, Martin Tajmar, is well respected and is certainly aware that experimental setups can give significant results during one set of trials, and results not much above experimental noise in an almost identical setup – as he himself has experienced. This is just a single stepping stone in a long path toward validation (if we’re lucky!)

  • GreenWin

    And IF “gravity” was viewed as a flux in vacuum (virtual) energy it would also be surprising and interesting. 🙂

    • Bob Matulis

      Now linked on Drudge = on main stream radar

  • Steven Irizarry

    the impact of lenr is obvious…a third industrial revolution but also new technologies that will create a new elite(to replace the oil lovers)…space mining and unlimited range automobiles will be worth a fortune coupled with neuro-robotics

  • Alan DeAngelis

    Could this be similar to Project Skyvault? (at 1:04:10).

    • Alan DeAngelis


      In order for this electrogravitic theory to be right, relativity theory must be wrong. I’ve posted this before but I think it should be posted here again.

      Dayton Miller shook up the physics establishment in the 1920s with his interferometer that was three times more sensitive than the one used in the famous Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887.

      “I believe that I have really found the relationship between gravitation and electricity, assuming that the Miller experiments are based on a fundamental error. Otherwise, the whole relativity theory collapses like a house of cards.”

      — Albert Einstein

    • Alan DeAngelis

      It may help to keep this in mind while watching the above video:

      “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

      -Mark Twain

  • Bob Greenyer

    It is a structure of the physical vacuum distorter, or crawler.

  • radvar
    • Sanjeev

      IB times article is very good. Highly recommended.

      Shawyer spent years having his technology ridiculed by the
      international space science research community and being called a fraud.
      According to Shawyer, if the technology is ever commercially realised,
      EmDrive could transform the aerospace industry and potentially solve the
      energy crisis and climate change, while also speeding up space travel
      by making it much cheaper to launch satellites and spacecraft into
      orbit.His critics say that according to the law of conservation
      of momentum, his theory cannot work as in order for a thruster to gain
      momentum in one direction a propellent must be expelled in the opposite
      direction, and the EmDrive is a closed system.

      Parallels to the LENR story here.
      With a peer reviewed paper published, this will now cause an acceleration of R&D and more and more developed versions will come out.
      A 2G Emdrive is already in development which may produce a force of 1 ton, as the article says. This made my day !

  • Mats002

    The heading might be misleading, “fuel-less” suggests no energy input. EMDrive have electricity as energy input and transform this to thrust.

    According to Shawyer, some energy of the EM waves resonating inside is lost to redshift according to special relativity. If so it does not violate the conservation of energy and can not be used for “overunity” energy production.

    However EM Drive shows that we still learn about nature and do not have all the answers. Some “Impossible” inventions are possible after all.

  • Sanjeev

    Its nothing new actually, even today there are blind believers who think everything that can be known is already known and no new discoveries can be made. Such people have read too much theory, fed to them by “authorities” as facts. This is not a new situation, its been like this from the start of science. The worrying thing is, humans have not progressed as much as science and tech has.

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