Association for Space Propulsion Development
PNN ELECTROMAGNETIC PROPULSION IN SHORT
The principle of propulsion without reaction mass ejection at the basis of PNN
The founding principle of the PNN thruster (acronym for Non-Newtonian Propulsion) is the interaction between the Lorentz forces that form in the arms of a V-shaped dipole when current flows through them.
Although it is commonly believed that Lorentz forces cannot exist in an open circuit, this is not entirely correct: in fact, if an alternating current is fed to such circuit and it is exposed to an electromagnetic field, there is no physical or theoretical constraint which prohibits to Lorentz force to manifest itself. However, unlike the forces observable in a closed circuit, those existing in an open circuit are much smaller and therefore difficult to detect, they must be amplified in some way. In the case of PNN this occurs through the self-interaction of its electromagnetic field.
Figure 1 below shows the schematic of a PNN dipole. It is composed of two arms in conductive material (litz wire) which have a common vertex at the feed point where a coaxial cable supplies alternating current.Once powered, two currents Ia and Ib will form in the dipole in the respective arms A and B and opposite to each other.
The movement of the electrons inside the arms has the intrinsic effect of emitting an electromagnetic field.
When the electromagnetic waves emitted by arm A hit arm B and therefore interact with the current circulating in it, a Lorentz force Fb perpendicular to the current Ib will be obtained as an effect. The same will be true for the electromagnetic field emitted by arm B which will affect the current Ia circulating in arm A and therefore a second Lorentz force Fa will be obtained, also perpendicular but to the current Ia. This is illustrated in Figures 2 and 3 below.
By observing the disposition of the forces Fa and Fb in the dipole, one immediately notices that due to the angle of the arms they are not perpendicular and opposite to each other and therefore will not cancel each other out but, by applying the parallelogram rule to the force vectors, they will create a resultant force FR which is exactly what pushes the propulsor forward.
In Figure 3 it can be seen that in accordance with Lorentz's law when the current circulating in the arms alternates and therefore changes direction there are no consequences for the existing forces Fa, Fb and FR.
This non-zero resultant FR manifests itself in violation of the Third law of dynamics (this is why this propulsion is defined as Non-Newtonian) and from the experiments conducted with the F432BA prototype hooked to the experimental setup illustrated in Figure 4, the forces on the arms have a tendency to increase unpredictably over time with the same power used.
Figure 4 below shows the scheme of the experimental setup used by ASPS to detect the thrust of the prototype.
It is immediately noticeable that when the prototype is powered its upward thrust will result in a downward thrust on the Kern scale which is in turn connected to the other arm through a rod.
A second test, done to exclude any "hot air balloon effect" for which it is the air heated by the prototype that pushes it upwards, consists in inverting the prototype so that it pushes downwards and therefore lightens the weight on the scale.
When the prototype is hooked to the structure, it is powered by lithium batteries mounted on board and operated remotely via a remote control.
The scale is shielded and observed through a video camera because the electromagnetic radiation of the prototype imposes a safety distance to the observer.