I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by relativistic horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration & some observed lab thrusts without any dark stuff or adjustment. My Plymouth University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch

Thursday, 24 November 2022

On the Cusp?

For the past five months my Chief Engineer (Richard Arundal) and myself have been busy in the lab attempting to prove that one can extract propellant-less thrust from a capacitor by using quantised inertia. QI thrust is implied theoretically (McCulloch, 2013, 2017), but a capacitor approach was first suggested and tested by Becker and Bhatt (2018) who had read my paper on thrust and dielectrics (2017) and did some lab tests in liaison with me. Their work has been seconded by Mansell/IVO Ltd.

Curious to test this approach I used the last remaining DARPA money to set up a lab at Plymouth University, hiring Richard. What we now have in the lab is shown above, with a few details withheld for IP reasons. The capacitor (blue plates with orange dielectric) is placed on an insulating tower on a digital balance on a heavy damping plate. The capacitor is charged up to 5 kV with a HiPot tester (on top) via wires that pass their current through Galinstan, a cool liquid metal that breaks the physical connection to the outside world and allows the capacitor to ‘float free’ on the balance.

For the past month we have been struggling with an unwanted electrostatic force, but we noticed an asymmetry as we flipped the capacitor. Recently I have looked at all the data and used maths (including matrix algebra, that I always wanted to use for something useful!) to separate out the EM force from the asymmetrical one. This extracted force is towards the anode and looks like QI. It is about 10 milligrams, only 1/3 of the force predicted (McCulloch, 2021) but there are good reasons why that might be, and we will now look at those.

In short, unless we can think of another effect that could cause a force towards the anode, then we have it and the transport & energy industry will never be the same.


Becker, F.M. and A.S. Bhatt, 2018. Electrostatic accelerated electrons within symmetric capacitors during field emission condition events exert bidirectional propellant-less thrust. Arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1810.04368

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. https://arxiv.org/abs/1302.2775

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Testing quantised inertia on emdrives with dielectrics. EPL, 118, 34003.  https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1209/0295-5075/118/34003

McCulloch., 2021. Thrust from symmetrical capacitors. Preprint: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353481953_Thrust_from_Symmetric_Capacitors_using_Quantised_Inertia (submitted to Adv.Sp. Res.)


SkyLoop said...

It is extraordinary that 1/3 was obtained considering what Richard had to work with. Fabricating a capacitor with Kapton dielectric, uneven gap, imperceptible current leakage or breakthrough...

1/3 is a triumph!

Gaaark said...

Still watching with high interest!

Keep the excitement coming, please!
(IANAPhysicist, just someone interested in QI)

Bob said...

Have you accounted for any possible radiation pressure?

Mike McCulloch said...

Bob: Yes. I estimate the maximum radiation pressure to be 0.03 mg.

Pedro said...


Unknown said...

Mike, could there be any surface tension effect between the wires and the Galinstan?

George Soli said...

Hi Mike:
(1/3) is great efficiency for a proof-of-concept experiment! Congratulations!

Bob said...


Is the power the leakage current times the voltage?

Simon Derricutt said...

Mike - A friend of mine suggested using Parylene coating as the dielectric. This can give you sub-micron pinhole-free layers - see https://parylene.co.uk/applications/electronics/ for someone in the UK who will do the coating. Dielectric strength is stated as 6-7kV/mil, which if I've got the sums right works out to 236-275V/micron, thus a bit better than Kapton. Possibly either deposit Silver on this layer (mirror process) for the counter-electrode or use some conductive Oxide powder to restrict current flow when the dielectric fails, as suggested earlier. Handling sub-micron sheets of dielectric would be very hard, but if you can get the coating directly on the metal it becomes a lot easier.

So far here no joy with using anodised metals (dielectric layer in the 20nm range) to produce thrust. Could be that the transit of electrons through a polymer layer is different than through an oxide layer, and you need the polymer to get a thrust. Also could be the conductive oxide layer of around 1mm doesn't give the same effect on Unruh waves as a full conductor would.

Gregory said...

I've been following your work with interest. Will you name the first QI starship after my girl Sloopy?