June 7th, 2002

Dear All,

You will find below, a
standard reply from Marc Millis (NASA) about Asymmetrical Capacitors (ACs), Lifters and Biefeld-Brown devices..

Best Regards
Jean-Louis Naudin
Web site:

Sujet : FYI, New Std. reply on ACs, Lifters, etc. 
Date : 07/06/2002 03:32:56
De : Marc.G.Millis@lerc.nasa.gov
Envoyé via Internet

For your information, here is a revised standard reply regarding inquires into any of the following (which are all variations of the old Biefeld-Brown effect):
- Biefeld-Brown
- Asymmetrical Capacitors
- Lifters
- Electrokinetics
- Electrogravitics (this term also used for other things)
- Field Propulsion (actually a broader term)


Marc G. Millis
Researcher, NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center

Since the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP) Project receives so many inquiries about this one effect, the following standard reply has been prepared.

- Biefeld-Brown
- Asymmetrical Capacitors
- Lifters
- Electrokinetics
- Electrogravitics (this term also used for other things)
- Ether Propulsion
- Field Propulsion (misuse of broader term)
- Antigravity (misnomer)

The NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP) Project is aware of a variety of work on "asymmetrical capacitors," "Lifters," or other variations of the old Biefeld-Brown effect.  At least five different groups are working on this effect.  Regrettably, most of these groups have focused on promoting their claims through web sites, press conferences and patents, rather than on publishing credible, experimental results in peer-reviewed scientific literature.  Such an emphasis on marketing over reliability is tainting the topic with sensationalism and is not providing the information needed to accurately resolve the unknowns.

Presented here is a brief description of the effect (with references) and recommended next steps.

The "Biefeld-Brown" effect claims anomalous thrust from unusually shaped capacitors that are charged to high-voltage. The claims are often touted as "antigravity" devices or as the discovery of some other new physics, despite the fact that credible investigations have concluded that ion wind is being misinterpreted as the mysterious force.  It is quite easy to get visible thrust from ion wind effects.

Most of the original documentation comes from Thomas Townsend Brown, over the period of 1950-1973. Some patent numbers for the Brown's "electrokinetics" include, 2,949,550, 3,022,430, 3,187,206, 2,949,550, & 3,018,394.

There are, however, still some unresolved issues.  Specifically, during the Talley tests (ref. below), anomalous forces were observed during the on/off transients -- anomalies that were never resolved. Also, the "folk lore" on the topic suggests that the "real" effect will not appear unless the voltage is above 14 kV and when there is a
slight current leakage across the capacitor.

For a credible assessment, study this report:
Talley, R .L., (Veritay Technology, Inc. East Amherst NY), Twenty First Century Propulsion Concept, PLTR-91-3009, Final Report for the period Feb 89 to July 90, on Contract FO4611-89-C-0023, Phillips Laboratory, Air Force Systems Command, Edwards AFB, CA 93523-5000, (1991).
In addition, this more recent conference paper demonstrated that the effects could be traced back to corona wind phenomena.
Tajmar, M., "Experimental Investigation of 5-D Divergent Currents as a Gravity-Electromagnetism Coupling Concept", in "Proceedings of the Space Technology and Applications International Forum, (STAIF-2000)," El-Genk editor, AIP Conference Proceedings 504, American Institute of Physics, New York, 2000, pp. 998-1003.

There has not yet been RELIABLE, IMPARTIAL, and TESTABLE DATA published on such claims (Capitalization for emphasis) that resolves the remaining issues.  A credible, objective, peer-reviewed publication about the unresolved experimental observations of this effect, written with sufficient detail for independent replication, is needed.  To be reliable, such publications must also address the variety of conventional effects that might incur misinterpretations, such as ion wind, corona discharges, electrostatic interactions, etc.

In future calls for proposals or papers on this topic from the BPP Project, the judging criteria places a greater emphasis on the reliability of the results than on the viability of the effect. The first researcher who succeeds at producing a peer-reviewed article on this topic will have a noteworthy advantage in any future
solicitations on this effect.

Until this is done, this Biefeld-Brown subject and its variants will still be considered as mostly non-credible research.

NEWS (May 2002) :

Recently, the West Virginia Institute for Software Research, operating under a Congressional earmark, has offered to conduct an independent, experimental  assessment of the "Asymmetrical Capacitors."  This task, managed by Gary Johnson of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, will test the rotational and linear motion configurations under various vacuum conditions at West Virginia University later this summer.

*  *  *  *  *
Marc G. Millis
Researcher, NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field
21000 Brookpark Rd., MS 86-2
Cleveland, OH 44135-3191

Breakthrough Propulsion Physics PROJECT site:

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