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PowerPedia:Biefeld Brown effect

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The Biefeld–Brown effect is an effect that was discovered by Thomas Townsend Brown (USA) and Dr. Paul Alfred Biefeld (Switzerland). The effect is more widely referred to as electrohydrodynamics (EHD) or sometimes electro-fluid-dynamics, a counterpart to the well-known magneto-hydrodynamics. Small models lifted by this effect are sometimes called 'lifters'.


Effect analysis

The effect relies on corona discharge, which allows air molecules to become ionized near sharp points and edges. Usually, two electrodes are used with a high voltage between them, about 20 kV and up to megavolt levels, where one electrode is small or sharp, and the other larger and smoother. The most effective distance between electrodes occurs at an electric field gradient of about 10 kV/cm, which is just below the nominal breakdown voltage of air between two sharp points. This creates a high field gradient around the smaller, positively charged electrode. Around this electrode, electrons are stripped off the atoms in the surrounding medium, they are literally pulled right off by the electrode's charge.

This leaves a cloud of positively charged ions in the medium, which are attracted to the negative smooth electrode, where they are neutralized again. In the process, thousands of impacts occur between these charged ions and the neutral air molecules in the air gap, causing a transfer in momentum between the two, which creates a net directional force on the electrode setup. This effect can be used for propulsion (see thruster) and fluid pumps.


The effect has become something of a cause célèbre in the UFO world, where it is seen as an example of something much more exotic than electrokinetics. Charles Berlitz devoted an entire chapter of his book The Philadelphia Experiment to a retelling of Brown's early work with the effect, implying he had discovered some new electrogravity effect being used by UFOs. In fact Brown was fully aware of how the device worked, but that makes for a less interesting story. Today the Internet is filled with sites devoted to this interpretation of the effect (see below for some of the more profound sites).

An article by M. Tajmar (see below, or a summary) describes an experiment designed to test the possibility that this effect may need some other effect than ion winds for its explanation. No such effect was found, to the limit of experimental accuracy. In particular, no thrust could be observed in a vacuum. A naval research lab, however, concluded in several repeated experiments a net thrust was apparent in vacuum. Neither of these tests were peer-reviewed, and therefore credibility can be given to neither.

Some people think that the Tesla coil might be related to this effect. In fact, when Tesla came to the USA he was supposedly carrying plans for a "flying machine". The only common factor between a Tesla coil and the Biefeld–Brown effect is that, in both of them, high voltage plays a vital role. The Tesla effect, or high field gradients between electrode plates, can be produced by an AC circuit powered by Tesla coils.


U.S. Patent 3120363 (G.patent; PDF) — Flying apparatus — G.E. Hagen
U.S. Patent 3120363 (G.patent; PDF)Flying apparatus — G.E. Hagen

T. T. Brown issued a number of patents on his discovery:

Historically numerous patents have been granted for various applications of the effect, from electrostatic dust precipitation, to air ionizers, and also for flight. A particularly notable patent — U.S. Patent 3120363 (G.patent; PDF) — was granted to G.E. Hagen in 1964, for apparatus more or less identical to the later so called 'lifter' devices.

Other ionic patents of interest:

A detailed discussion of these patents is found in Article:Development_of_Ionic_Electrical_Thrust_Technology.

Confirmations of the Biefeld-Brown Antigravity Effect

Diagram of the Searl Effect Generator in Godin and Roschin's paper.
Diagram of the Searl Effect Generator in Godin and Roschin's paper.

On December 05, 2010 3:25 AM, Robert W. Koontz wrote:

Dear Sterling:

I would like to bring to your attention my confirmation of the Biefeld-Brown antigravity effect using relatively simple equipment that is shown and described in the link below:

I would also like to make sure that you are aware of the much more dramatic antigravity and free energy results that were reported from The Russian Academy of Sciences. Here is a link.

The experiment above dramatically confirmed the Searl effect.

Please also see my documentation regarding the dramatic antigravity effects produced by my good friend John Hutchison. Here is a link:

Please examine these materials carefully as they are of inestimable significance to the future of mankind.

Robert W. Koontz, Ph.D. Experimental Nuclear Physicist Former Member, US Military Intelligence Web Site:

- - - -

On Dec. 1 we posted the following in our news:

  • Anti-Gravity > Biefeld Brown effect >
    Experimental Test of the Biefeld-Brown Effect - I have decided it might be a good idea to report the results of my antigravity experiment that was conducted way back in 2002 or 2003. Please note that it is my opinion that my experiment confirms the possible existence of antigravity." -- Robert W. Koontz, Ph.D., Experimental Nuclear Physicist, Former Member, US Military Intelligence (; December 1, 2010)

And here's the news bullet we posted announcing the above info:

  • Featured: Anti-Gravity > Biefeld Brown Effect >
    Confirmations of the Biefeld-Brown Antigravity - In addition to his own results, Dr. Robert Koontz draws our attention to much more dramatic antigravity and free energy results that were reported from The Russian Academy of Sciences. He also points to documentation regarding the dramatic antigravity effects produced by John Hutchison. (PESWiki; December 5, 2010)

Other Replications

Testing the Miklos thruster - Borbás Miklós has detected a force which appears counter to the typical 'lifter' theory. His device is a simple ping-pong ball with a high voltage discharge element inside. He says the device generates a propulsive force which is not due to air movement caused by ion flow (ion-wind).

External links

Misinterpreted EHD only

Anomalous effects


See Discussion page


  • Wikipedia contributors, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Tajmar M. Biefeld–Brown Effect: Misinterpretation of Corona Wind Phenomena, AIAA Journal, 1 February 2004, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 315-318(4), [1]
  • Buehler D.R. Exploratory Research on the Phenomenon of the Movement of High Voltage Capacitors, Journal of Space Mixing, April 2004, vol. 2, pp. 1-22, [2]

Related Sites

  • Electrostatic and magnetism - experiments you can do yourself! from Energy21. Very nice for students, schoolchildren and the adventurous.

See also

- PowerPedia main index
- PESWiki home page

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