If you are as excited as we are about this new engine, then you have been waiting for this blog. Well, the problem is that sorting out how this engine works and the facts around it makes hieroglyphics seem a little easier, but here is what we found.
How does the electromagnet engine work?
If you recall from the last blog, “Electromagnetic engine: a new space resource from an old design part 1“, we said it “doesn’t use fuel, defies Newtonian physics, and is capable of pushing a rocket to Mars in roughly 10 weeks.” Trying to understand how it can do that is not only confusing to us, but to the scientific community. Here is what Shawyer and his designer teams have been able to work out:
- It doesn’t use fuel: remember an electromagnet uses electricity to turn the magnetism on and off as the electricity flows through the wires? That electricity can come from any source, and it is designed to use solar power combined with battery power.
- It defies Newtonian physics: The 3 law of Newtonian physics states that for every push against something, there is an equal and opposite push back. The reason we move is because the object pushing back is much larger than the other object. The electromagnetic engine achieves thrust without using this law. Instead it uses special relativity.
- It is capable of pushing a rocket to Mars in roughly 10 weeks: If an equal and opposite reaction is not required, then all the thrust can be focused in one direction, pushing anything, including a rocket in space, faster than any engine we’ve ever built ever could.
If it doesn’t use Newtonian’s third law, how does it achieve thrust?
Shawyer and his teams explain it with a little bit too much technical terminology but with some research and a few explanations from physicists, this is what we were able to work out:
- The engine is a giant cone that is attached to a microwave and an electromagnet. The microwave generates microwaves and releases them into the cone and the electromagnet magnetizes the cone.
- When the microwaves are released into the cone they are moving at a speed that is faster than radio waves but slower than light, but once they get close to the edge of the cone, they are drawn to its magnetism, so they speed up. Then they hit the cone and bounce off.
- As they head away from that edge of the cone they head in the direction of the opposing side of the cone and as they approach that side, they speed up again before they bounce off that side.
- This process speeds up again and again, each time providing thrust to the cone, until that set of microwaves reaches the last time it will hit the inside of the cone. When it bounces off this time, it will push the cone one last time, still providing one last thrust, as it leaves the cone.
- Now imagine tons of sets of microwaves bouncing around inside the cone all at the same time. That could provide a lot of thrust and that is what Shawyer and his teams are proposing and in the process of proving.
This is where most, including the vast majority of other scientists, are getting confused or stumped. According to a majority of the scientific community, the entire concept is simply not possible based on the laws of Newtonian physics. Shawyer and his teams are retorting with concept of special relativity, which Einstein proposed in 1905. Even Einstein stated that special relativity did not work within the boundaries set by Newtonian physics, even though he couldn’t prove it at the time, so in the late 1980’s Shawyer and his teams, supported by Boeing, proved it by creating a working model that produced 8 grams of thrust, but still the success was discredited in the scientific community based on theories of unseen outside forces. In other words, it was thought that the model’s success was based on something other than Shawyer’s calculations and theories.
What is Shawyer’s next move with his new engine?
The latest news is the paper written about his theories has been peer reviewed and has passed that peer review. In the science community that is a long process and a big step in the right direction, but now Shawyer is working on an engine to the scale he always wanted. With the help of an unknown team, he is building an engine that he believes will produce 1 ton of thrust. That is roughly the thrust required to operate an F 16, the most popular fighter plane currently used today, but he intends these engines to go to commercial use first. In an interview he describes noiseless flying taxis that maneuver vertically and horizontally with ease, low flying satellites that are basically solar farms, and finally moving toward easier, faster, and cheaper space travel.