Older Experimental Updates
10 October 16 Biking season is now over due to the cooler weather, and early darkness. Most bike club members work till 4:30 to 5:00 PM, leaving scant time for 25 to 40 mile group rides. Besides I've already accumulated over 2500 road miles, or about 4100 kilometers. That means I'm back in the saddle on the project. Just ordered a commercial Marx generator, that appears to be capable of generating up to 10,000 volts D.C (strangely it didn't indicate the voltage capability, so I estimated it by the spark length). That's not nearly as high as I want to go, but the price was right, at under 50 dollars, to develop some familiarity with these systems, and to devise electromagnetic pulse suppression strategies for my sensor and data acquisition systems. Ultimately I wish to reach at least 500,000 volts in order to faithfully replicate Podkletnov's Impulse Gravity Generator experiments. My conviction is it takes roughly that magnitude of voltage to create a collimated beam of negative-energy, virtual gravitons. Concentrated, in a laser-like beam, a brief pulse of such virtual particles ought to produce detectable macroscopic effects.
Another consideration is the frequency response of my 1 milli-g sensitivity ADXL203 accelerometer. If the pulse duration of virtual, negative-energy, gravitons is less than the accelerometer's inherent rise-time sensitivity, then it will not detect a signal. The ADXL203 accelerometer has a frequency response of only 60 Hz. Thus, the 100 microsecond impulse, from Podkletnov's Impulse Gravity Generator, cannot be detected by this accelerometer. The commercial model - A/120/VT/N, from DJB Instruments (11 kilohertz freq. response), used by L. Lorincz and M. Tajmar, in their recent experimental effort (Null Results of a Superconducting Gravity-Impulse-Generator), would have been effective in detecting the impulse from Podkletnov's apparatus. However, they chose to replicate the work done by Poher and myself, (independently), which entailed much lower voltages, (by several orders of magnitude), than Podkletnov employed. Thus it is my hope that using a voltage regime comparable to that used in Podkletnov's system may result in detectable acceleration signals.10 November 13 For nearly 2 weeks I was knocked out by a very bad case of the flu, which required lots of rest and fluids. It was impossible to achieve any level of concentration. In the last 5 days my strength has steadily returned and I even did over 50 miles of biking and some hiking in nearby state forests, despite howling winds and heavy snow squalls. I'm presently visiting with relatives for several days, but before coming here I was able to make some progress unraveling the time delay circuit issues. With renewed strength I should be able to work those problems out, and finally eliminate acoustic noise as a source of false signal.
14 July 16 I've been busy for weeks now composing a paper, that discusses the rationale behind the theory presented at this website, and its proposed connection to gravity-like phenomena reported in superconductor experiments. It will be submitted to viXra.org, when completed. At first I expected it would be straightforward to write, but after becoming immersed in the details I appreciated that it requires a lot more thought than my original naive perception. For one, I didn't realize that a substantial body of literature has been written regarding the possible production and detection of gravitons - the theorized quanta of the classical gravitational field. My theory entails the emisson of a vast number of negative-energy gravitons in a state of coherent superposition, along a collimated 'beam path' to account for the repulsive effect seen in certain experiments. It turns out that quantitative estimates of graviton emission from, for example, the Sun's interior, were made some 50 years ago by Stephan Weinberg. Other potential sources, of graviton emission have also been explored, such as the Gertsenshtein process (1961) that entails the coherent mixing of graviton and photon states in a strong magnetic field. The involvement of a strong magnetic field in this process immediately reminded me of the fact that Podkletnov always used a strong magnetic field in his experiments.
Trying to reconcile the reported experimental results, of various investigators, with these quantitative estimates of graviton production and absorption, under various circumstances, is my current program of study. From this I hope to gain some improved insights into what is actually occurring within superconductors that gives rise to reports of gravity-like effects, along with the potential of enhancing these effects. Once completed, the viXra.org paper will provide a more robust theoretical model that I can refer to when contacting a local area laboratory to solicit running an experiment with liquid helium.
Aside from these nerdy activities, I've been maintaining an exercise regimen, averaging about 8 to 9 miles of cycling daily on rough, mountainous roads. Since March I've accumulated 1000 miles (1609 kilometers) on my bike odometer, having reached that goalpost yesterday. A few weeks ago I joined a cycling club in Massachusetts, and have done several group rides with them of 22 mile length. Among their standard rides are 100 kilometer and 100 mile routes that circumnavigate the Quabbin reservoir. Not sure I can handle that distance, not having gone that far in one go for several decades, but will probably give it a try.
29 April 16 The day before yesterday, (Wednesday), I immersed the 2 inch long, (by 1/4 inch diameter), Niobium-Titanium, Type-1, superconductor rod in liquid nitrogen, zapping it with 520 volts in multiple runs. Prior to these tests I had carefully aligned the tiny ADXL203 micro-chip with the rod's long axis. Using the threaded-screw driven X-Y positioning system, I moved the heavy accelerometer module, (Budbox), in small increments, so that the ADXL203 micro-chip would intercept various portions of the Nb-Ti's rod's circular cross-section; from which it's hoped that a collimated acceleration pulse will emanate. In a superconductor the current flows in the outer wall, at the London Penetration Depth so, in this situation, it's important to achieve precise alignment.
The various investigators of these phenomena - Evgeny Podkletnov, Claude Poher, and others, believe that the interaction of the high voltage current with the condensate, within their superconductors, is the source of their anomalous signals. Since the critical temperature of Nb-Ti alloy is 14 Kelvin, my experiment at 77 Kelvin, (temperature of liquid nitrogen), should not have produced any anomalous acceleration signal. And, in fact, in none of the 10 or 12 runs was any acceleration pulse observed, down to the 1 milli-g resolution of my system. The onset of superconductivity, in any material, is very abrupt, when the critical temperature is reached, with no cooper-pairs forming above that temperature. So, the negative result is not surprising. Contacting a research lab, that routinely uses liquid helium, is my next step.>
25 April 16 Last week I ended up visiting relatives on Cape Cod, so didn't get around to running an LN2 test as planned. Today I made a small modification to the X-Y positioning system, securing a plastic plate to the front-end base of the device. This way metal clamps, holding the the unit firmly to the edge of the table, won't scratch the metal surface. I also just ran another acoustic calibration test, to be sure everything was still working properly. Have to confess it's rather neat that I can measure the velocity of sound to within 1% of its calculated value over a gap of 3.5 inches; thanks to a bit of electronics wizardry. To avoid future confusion, I wrote down all my scope settings for this procedure. I used the old scope, since I'm not yet familiarized with my new scope. Tomorrow I have to take my car in for servicing, so probably won't be able to run the LN2 test. But definitely by Wednesday.
15 April 16 I ran into technical problems when I attempted to run a calibration check on an acoustic signal from the cryostat to the acceleration sensor. I couldn't make sense out of what I was seeing, and it took me some time to figure things out. But, that problem is now resolved, and I will be conducting the liquid nitrogen test on Monday, when the LN2 supplier opens for business.
06 April 16 Fortunately I found a local machinist who could turn down my niobium-titanium (NbTi) alloy, superconducting rod, with a lathe. The approximately 1/4 inch diameter, by two inch, NbTi rod had a somewhat irregular shape, and wouldn't fit into 1/4 inch holes drilled at the bottom of PVC plastic tabs that hold the rod rigid inside the cryostat. I couldn't open up the holes in the PVC tabs, as I needed to maintain a snug fit for a length of 1/4 inch diameter bronze tube, used to precisely align the lengthwise axis of the superconductor with the tiny accelerometer-chip 'target', about six inches from the cryostat. The reason for going to all this trouble is that in *theory* the acceleration pulse is expected to be confined to the same quarter inch width as the superconducting rod, and aligned with it; rather like a laser beam. Furthermore, it's expected that the 'pulse' will be restricted to the outer radius of the NbTi rod at the London penetration depth, where the supercurrent flows. Using a hollow bronze tube is thus ideal as it delineates the outer radius of the NbTi rod. My original plan to achieve alignment with a hand held laser pointer turned out to be impractical, as it was impossible to hold steady.
With that problem out of the way I'm ready to run an experiment with liquid nitrogen (LN2). Of course, LN2 at 77 Kelvin is well above NbTi's critical temperature of 14 Kelvin. I don't expect to see any acceleration pulse, as no Cooper-pairs should form at that temperature, and large scale coherence is assumed to underlie this anomalous phenomena, assuming, of course, it's real. Nonetheless, I still will be monitoring for signal - just in case. While this test may seem pointless, based on the foregoing assumptions, I'm only doing it because the new setup, (for the first time), meets all the criteria embodied in other groups experimental arrangements, minus the necessary temperature. Additionally, LN2 is readily available at modest cost. Assuming a negative result, the next step is finding a regionally local lab that will allow testing at liquid helium temperatures.
27 March 16 After days of seemingly endless drilling, milling, tapping, cuting, and filing, I finally finished the custom-built, X-Y positioning system. It works absolutely perfectly, very smooth motion on both axes. It will now be possible to precisely align a laser pointer along the axis of the superconductor rod, with the millimeter across accelerometer sensing element.
Today I took a break from machine shop work, and joined my brothers on a visit to a regional casino. For a while I was ahead of the casino, but left at 15 dollars in the hole, playing mostly penny machines, which are a lot of fun. We had a great breakfast at one of the restaurants, arriving at the casino at 9:00 AM.
11 March 16 A week and a half ago I hacked off eight, half inch square, aluminum bars to a length of just over 4 inches. Using my drill press as a milling machine, I then trimmed these to exactly 4 inches. These will be incorporated in the X-Y positioning system. Realizing that precise alignment of the slide bars was critical, I contracted with a local machinist to accurately bore the necessary 1/4 inch holes, along with 8-32 tapped holes for securing these bars to metal plates. I picked up the bars yesterday, and after some fiddling got everything to fit properly. Pictured on the Index page is the vertical (Y) portion of the positioning system, lying on its side. Once I fabricate a base, with braces, for this element of the system, components not yet fabricated for the X sliding system will be made, and that part will be assembled. All moving surfaces, before final assembly, will be lubricated with white grease to prevent corrosion and binding.
20 February 16 Two days ago a consignment of aluminum plate arrived that was to be used in the X-Y positioning system for the accelerometer module. Unfortunately all four pieces were badly warped (1/4 inch out over 24 inches), so completely unusable. Fortunately the supplier is sending four more plates, that they promise will be flat. In the mean time I've been machining other pieces for the system. When the new plates arrive I plan to contract with a local machinist to perform the more critical machining operations to ensure everything aligns properly.
About two weeks ago a new 70 MHz digital oscilloscope, with 1Ghz sampling rate, arrived in the mail. This will enable me to finally save single traces during experiment runs for later detailed examination.
11 February 16 The cryostat frame has been modified to enable a more precise alignment of the superconducting rod with the 'target' accelerometer, as illustrated in photos on the index page. The cryostat tub can now be momentarily lowered to allow direct 'bore sighting' alignment with the ADXL203 chip's position, marked on the outside of the accelerometer module (Bud Box). To accomplish this the 1/4 inch diameter superconductor rod will temporarily be replaced with the same size aluminum rod, bored to a diameter to match the width of a red laser pointer beam. Once alignment is achieved, the superconductor will be reinserted.
Finishing the mods on the cryostat frame completes Phase 1 of my current program. Phase 2 will entail fabrication of the X-Y positioning system for the accelerometer module. The design has been sketched out, and I expect to begin construction tomorrow. This is a much more complicated project than the cryostat alterations, so will take a few days to complete.
11 January 16 Yesterday I performed a crucial calibration run on my system to check on the arrival time of the sound pulse that will emanate from the cryostat when the capacitor bank discharges through the niobium-titanium rod. As in an earlier such test, the sound pulse was dominated by reflection from a nearby wall. But I was satisfied that the unavoidale acoustic impulse can be fully separated from any anomalous acceleration pulse, which it is assumed will propagate at light speed. A principle difficulty of my experimental set-up, which I need to address, is the transitory nature of the signal trace I'm observing on the 485B HP scope. It's so brief that's it's difficult to catch every detail. The solution is a data acquisition system, or a more modern scope which incorporates such a system. Each experimental run could then be saved as a permanent file, to be studied at my leisure. I'm currently looking in to such systems that can interface with my PC.
Either today, or tomorrow, I'll be traveling to Pennsylvania, and won't be back until Thursday, or Friday. As good fortune has it, there is a specialties metals supplier on the route in Pennsylvania, which has niobium-titanium rod stock. I'm not certain it will be possible to purchase a small piece of this material on the fly, as I haven't even contacted the company, as they were closed on Saturday, when I first discovered this metal supplier. Now that it is Monday, I'll call them this morning, and see if I can arrange the purchase of a small piece of Nb-Ti rod. This would greatly improve my chances of success, as the Nb-Ti rod I currently have is slightly bent, probably as a result of being formed that way as a portion of an MRI machine magnet coil. A perfectly straight rod will eliminate any ambiguity as to the direction, and precision alignment of the acceleration pulse.
2 January 16 Yipes, here it is the New Year, and the best laid plans of mice and men went by the wayside. But I'm finally back in the saddle, after a hectic holiday season. I was trying to figure out how to physically align the 2 inch long by 1/4 inch diameter niobium-titanium superconductor with the tiny accelerometer sensor, which serves as the 'target'. It must be precisely aligned with the tiny accelerometer chip; in fact a certain part of the chip. Since the chip is hidden inside the aluminum bud box, I long ago marked the exact sensor position on the box's side. Essentially, it's a bit of a geometry problem, requiring very precise alignment, because of the narrowness of the anticipated, (and hoped for), 'acceleration beam' emanating from the 1/4 inch niobium-titanium rod, and the small cross-section of the acceleration sensing part of the tiny chip. The issue is further complicated by the fact that supercurrents run on the surface of a rod-shaped superconductor. This means that if the sensor element is aligned with the rod's center, a null result will occur even if a signal is present. An additional complication is that the rod I purchased is not perfect straight, meaning a perfectly collimated beam may not result.
Solved part of the problem yesterday, by making a simple jig using the level from a sliding square, with two stand-offs projecting down to the superconductor rod inside the plastic cryostat, as illustrated in a photo that will be uploaded later. Am considering purchasing more rod material from an industrial supplier in Pennsylvania, that should be perfectly straight, unlike the used rod that was probably torn out of a defunct MRI machine.
23 November 15 I never got around to running a test with liquid nitrogen on the niobium-titanium rod. Last week I set up all the components of the experiment, with the intent of performing the LN2 test. But for some reason my circuit that triggers the oscilloscope, to isolate the acoustic 'pop', did not function properly. So I went on to other things, not having the ambition to troubleshoot the system. Then a few days ago my kitchen, battery-powered clock, failed, and I figured it needed a new AA battery. Since the trigger system uses eight of these batteries I decided to pull one out for the clock, knowing that they should have most of their charge left. As I grabbed the trigger system I suddenly noticed that two of the black painted batteries were missing. Since the plastic battery pack was black too, I didn't notice the missing batteries, when I attempted to run the experiment.
Now that I know what the problem is I'll run the test very soon. I don't expect any anomalous signal to show up, since LN2 is far above the critical temperature for niobium. However, I will be monitoring for signal, just in case. In fact, since quantum phenomena are probabalistic, and superconductivity is a quantum process, it's conceivable that some Cooper-pairs might form even at LN2 temperatures. Moreover, this experimental configuration is much 'cleaner' geometrically than all but one of runs I did with 1 inch diameter YBCO discs. These discs were so badly warped that it was impossible to simply press electrodes to either side of them. So, the only way to induce an acceleration of the supercurrent inside them was to apply a rapidly expanding magnetic field, centered on the disc, and perpendicular to it. The hoped for result was to induce an acceleration of a single, robust supercurrent flowing on the disc's periphery. In reality, there was no way to know if it was a single loop of current, or hundreds of small 'eddy' loops. In either case any anomalous signal would be sprayed out radially in all directions of the compass, and the tiny accelerometer would intercept only a tiny fraction of the overall signal. And even that assumes that the 'spray' was restricted to the disc's plane, which might not necessarily be so because of the warped shape of the disc.
In contrast, the elongated rod provides a single, linear pathway for the supercurrent, and any acceleration signal will align with it, and can thus be focused directly on the accelerometer. With virtually all of the putative acceleration signal concentrated in a narrow beam, versus sprayed out in all directions, even a small signal should reach the level of detection. I plan to mount the accelerometer module on an X-Y cross slide, so that I can precisely align it with the niobium-titanium rod's axis. Moreover, this will enable control runs to test if the acceleration signal diminishes, or disappears altogether, off the rod's axis, as would be expected.
12 May 15 Winter snows are long gone and I've devoted much of my time to property chores - air blasting winter sand off my 375 foot driveway, planting new decorative plants in the gardens, cutting down and chain-sawing up a number of trees, brush clearing, etc. Also, got in 230 miles of biking since mid April. Only yesterday did I return to the superconductor project, completing fabrication of a sturdy frame to support the niobium-titanium superconductor within my existing cryostat. I will run a test with liquid nitrogen soon, just to be sure all the fittings hold together at cryogenic temperatures. Later will work with a lab experienced with liquid helium to check for any acceleration signals when large current pulses are passed through the rod.
22 March 15 Despite the chilly basement I finally began work again on the project. I plan to fabricate a structure from PVC plastic to support my niobium-titanium superconducting bar within a helium filled cryostat. With a warm sweater the basement is tolerable, and besides I'll warm up doing the physical work involved. Looks like today and tomorrow are the last of the extreme cold for this season. Neither day will rise out of the 20's Fahrenheit, and wind gusts currently are about 25 MPH. That wind at the current 23 Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius) will be mighty uncomfortable for my daily 5 mile walk.
14 February 15 Due to the extraordinarily cold and snowy weather, here in New England, I've not attempted to do any further experiments, but have been updating the website. We're currently at the start of yet another blizzard that will add to the already record snowfall. Currently, my 375 foot, steep driveway is just wide enough for my small compact car to pass. I haven't seen pavement on my driveway since December, and at the rate this winter is going it might be late April before any pavement becomes visible. There's well over 2 feet of snow in my yard, and the subzero Fahrenheit weather every night, along with temps in the teens F. during the day has prevented any melting. Arctic air is being funneled directly into the northeast United States by a stationary low pressure ridge over Greenland and a stationary high pressure ridge over western Canada. There's no indication this pattern will change anytime soon. These photos give an illustration of what we are dealing with in the New England area> http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-new-england-buried-in-historic-snow-2015-2
15 December 14 Today I disassembled a 6 foot shelf in my backyard shed, that is infested with mice, as there were thousands of droppings on each shelf, the floor, and every nook and cranny. Wearing a mask I cleaned off the shelves, and transported them, and the steel frame pieces to my basement for reassembly. After cleaning, I started painting the shelves as an extra precaution against aerosols from the mouse dropping possibly still on the shelf surfaces, that could carry diseases. The added storage space is intended for 20 years of internet printouts, that are in desperate need for sorting and classifying, and ultimately being placed in my filing cabinet in logical order, and labeled with tabs. This is part of an overall plan to get my house shipshape. I also did a little electrical work this week on the niobium superconductor, securing long wires, soldered to metal grommets, which are screwed into each end of the 2 inch niobium-titanium rod. I only need to know the length of rigid connecting shaft needed to dip the assembly into a liquid helium cryostat, for the final mechanical work.
But the big news for the project is that I've hit upon what I believe is a fully self-consistent theory that explains the origin of Dark Energy - the pervasive 'something' that is causing the accelerated expansion of the Universe. A single mechanism in this theory-model explains what Dark Energy is, why it is causing the exponential inflation of our Universe, and the Universe's observed flatness on very large scales. Even more important, it requires a slight, but vital, modification to the theory presented here that ties the suppression of synchrotron radiation in atomic orbitals with reports of acceleration signals emanating from superconductors under particular conditions. I'm rather excited about these new insights as it provides a coherent linkage between cosmic scale phenomena and particle scale phenomena. I communicated the idea to six astrophysicists, two days ago, but none have written back. Likely, they receive so much crackpot mail from the general public, that anything that smacks of pseudoscience is quickly deleted. In my excited haste I did not articulate the ideas very well. In any case, these new ideas may require some reassessment of how future experiments are conducted.
25 November 14 A few days ago I hacksawed off a 1 inch piece of my 6 and 1/2 inch niobium-titanium alloy bar, which I bought from ebay. Try as I might, I could not make 63/37 lead/tin solder adhere to it. So, I cut off another piece, but this time 2 inches long, with the intention of securing half inch aluminum cubes to either end, by drilling quarter inch holes through these aluminum blocks, and then drilling and threading 6-32 screw holes in each block to tightly secure the blocks to each end of the 2 inch long superconductor. I started gathering the necessary materials, when it dawned on me that I could have a local machine shop simply drill and tap the ends of the 2 inch superconductor. It is now in a shop, and should be ready by next week, as the machinist was busy, assuming he doesn't run into any tooling problems due to the hardness of the material. This simpler approach means less mass will be dipped into the liquid helium, allowing a faster cool-down.
19 November 14 Oh boy, I've had one stroke of good luck after another lately! Last week I found 3 sets of walkie-talkies, with their chargers, in a kitchen drawer where I never even thought to look. Then the day before yesterday while searching for other items cleaning out basement drawers I came across three brand new Weller solder iron tips. To add icing on the cake, while searching for something else, a short time later, I found all the old soldering iron tips I'd been looking for high and low for a week. No need now to order new tips.
17 November 14 Some weeks ago I purchased a 6 inch long by 1/4 inch diameter rod of niobium-titanium superconductor. My plan is to cut off about a 1 inch length of this rod and solder lengths of 20 gauge wire to either end. Once that is done I will fabricate a frame so that this superconductor can be immersed in liquid helium, and zapped with high voltage, as an accelerometer monitors for signal just outside the dewar. Since niobium is somewhat toxic I will do the work in my garage. Just bought a new vice, which will be dedicated to cutting up materials that have toxicity and can be kept away from the house interior to avoid contamination. I'll be wearing a face mask and rubber gloves while handling the material. After that work is done I'll be contacting a local lab that uses liquid helium, as it is much too expensive and difficult to work with at home. In parallel with this work I've been undertaking an extensive cleanup of my house, prompted by my inability to find a small container which held all my spare soldering iron tips. I needed one of my heavy duty tips for soldering the large piece of niobium-titanium. Still haven't found the container, so will have to order new tips online.
15 October 14 At last I found a solution to preserving sufficient detail in drawings that I wished to embed in a paper, so that they are readable. I happened to still have a copy of the section of a jointly written book, which I wrote, that dealt with the weak interactions. By having this 14 page paper converted to a pdf file at Staples, the image quality was, thankfully, retained. This paper is linked at:
I'm currently updating another version of this paper, that will incorporate the latest results of neutrino experiment around the world. The disappearance of solar, atmospheric, reactor, and accelerator neutrinos is readily accounted for by a proposed neutrino interaction that seems possible, but I have never noticed in any paper on neutrino physics. The speculative interaction could also explain the appearance of other flavor neutrinos from these various neutrino sources, but with a hitch. The interaction would involve creation of a neutrino pair, of any generation, from an incident neutrino, also of any generation. So, in principle, other neutrino flavors could show up from these four neutrino sources, other than the original neutrino species, but one would expect an equal number of both helicities; e.g. neutrino and antineutrino, to appear. I don't believe this is the case for the four sources - solar, atmospheric, reactor, or accelerator, unless they are being overlooked due to the methodology of the experiment, or scrubbed from the data as 'noise'. So, will have to look into that in more detail.
Ultimately, if this idea is tractable, it could serve as an alternative to neutrino oscillations to explain the observed neutrino shortfalls,as well as the appearance of other flavors when neutrinos pass through matter. One possible way to discriminate between the two models is that neutrino oscillation has a certain probability of occurring in vacuum, while the proposed interaction would not be expected to occur at all in a perfect vacuum environment. Because no vacuum is perfect, a small amount of this hypothetical interaction might occur. A desirable feature of this process is that neutrino family number would be conserved, unlike the case for oscillation. So, in that respect, it is more in line with the traditional Standard Model. However, neutrino oscillation is very solidly grounded in theory, and a large number of experimental results are quite consistent with it.
Update 10/15/2014:Unfortunately, the interaction that I thought might be mimicking neutrino oscillation doesn't occur. In discussion with several physicists on a thread at physicsforums.com it was explained that this would be a "4th order interaction", and therefore doesn't occur. As these professional physicists pointed out the experimental evidence for neutrino oscillation is overwhelming, and alternative ideas have long been dismissed, principally due to lack of evidence.
23 September 14 Have been busy updating the link labeled "The Multiplefamily Structure of matter of Matter". Not being as computer savvy as I would like to be I can't seem to figure out how to save Word files, that includes drawings, at their original resolution. Turns out Word automatically compresses files that are exported to another application. I followed the procedure to prevent this, shown on one website, but it didn't work. My object is to emplace 7 or 8 drawings, with captions, into the paper in the form of thumbnails, with text wrapping around each thumbnail. Clicking on each thumbnail will take the reader to the full size drawing. I've saved all the drawings as thumbnails, and larger images. But the larger images are a fraction of the original images in size due to Word's automatic compression. For the time being I've emplaced one thumbnail, linking to its larger image. But the resolution of the larger image has much to be desired. Am hoping to resolve this issue soon, so I can return to experiments.
09 August 14 I've been reviewing the literature on the current viability of the various supersymmetry models, inasmuch as the theory presented here constitutes a unique way of interpreting supersymmetry. It's true that the simplest, natural variants of supersymmetry have been ruled out by the 2011-2012 data set from the LHC, but because of the complexity of possible decay modes, not every conceivable decay pattern has been adequately searched for. The LHC is scheduled to start up again in early 2015, and theorists believe that by 2017 if a gluino, with a mass below 1800 GeV/c2 is not found, that all natural variants of supersymmetry will be excluded. But even then there is still a loophole in the form of unpredicted, long-lived, particles, stemming from gluino decays. In that case, new search strategies are required that are difficult to formulate without knowing something about the characteristics of such particles. So it is too early to conclude that supersymmetry is a dead end approach for solving major unsolved puzzles in the Standard Model.
I'm back vacationing with relatives on Cape Cod, but plan to start up experiments again in the coming week, when I return home.
09 July 14 Have been doing a lot of vacation travel, visiting relatives and such. But I brought along a number of papers that discuss, the currently accepted detailed mechanism responsible for superconductivity. My goal is to try obtain a better handle on the theoretical connection between superconductivity and gravitational phenomena associated with superconductors. I'm fully aware that the BCS theory has been criticized for being inadequate to explain high temperature superconductivity with cuprates and other compounds. But, it's difficult to concentrate here in a busy coffee shop, so I'll stop typing here.
23 June 14 The weather has been so perfect this June that I've neglected the project, trying to be outdoors most of the time doing yard work, property work, cycling and hiking.. Just in the last 3 day I covered 64 miles and 4500 feet elevation gain on three bike rides in the local area, following routes laid out by the Monadnock Cycling Club. Never did these routes before, as my standard rides were in a different area. But am very glad I did while the weather holds out. As soon as we have a stretch of rain I'll get back on the project.
28 May 14 I've lately been thinking of a different route altogether than having a custom made YBCO superconductor. I contacted several YBCO superconductor suppliers about custom made chips, but have received no responses as of today. So now I've decided to go ahead with building a voltage source sufficient to produce an arc of several inches. My thinking is to place a metal plate, about 1 inch in diameter on one side of the superconductor, and another metal plate, of similar size, on the other side of the 1 inch YBCO disc, but spaced several inches away. The goal would be to have somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 volts pass through the superconductor. This would be a close variant of Podkletnov's Impulse Gravity Generator. With 2 million volts Podkletnov reportedly observed a very short impulse of 1000 g's. By simple mathematical scaling this, in prinicple, would translate to between 5 and 10 g's for the voltages I have in mind. That should be far easier to detect than the few milli-g's.
I plan to replicate portions of the old system, taking care to provide high voltage shielding for the delicate electronic circuits. A totally new voltage source, and capacitor bank, however, will be put together. Thus the new system will also have a remote RF link to initiate the charging and discharge cycles.
05 May 14 I'm at a watershed in the project, having essentially exhausted every reasonable experiment that I possibly can with inexpensive 1 inch, YBCO, kit-type, commercial superconductors. It is only possible to initiate a supercurrent in these via the induction method, (with a surrounding coil), since they present no flat surfaces for electrodes to be pressed against, due to warpage. Since these HTSC's are not shaped like geometrically perfect hockey pucks, whatever acceleration signals may emanate from them are sprayed out in every which direction, and not concentrated in a mono-directional, collimated beam. I note that the best results of other research groups, worldwide, are being obtained via this beam approach, with high voltages being discharged through their HTSC's.
Fabricating my own superconductors is out of the question - too much of an investment in equipment, with an uncertain return. Besides some of the ingredients are quite toxic and I really don't want to be polluting my small house with dust from such ingredients, not to mention that it looks like a pretty tricky business getting the process to work right
I've looked at what's available, at various companies, worldwide, and it appears that I will encounter the same problem. So I don't want to take a chance of buying one, or more, of their products, sight unseen, and be out hundreds of dollars. Additionally, one of the better suppliers in Europe tacks on an obscenely large shipping charge. So, even if I could return the item, I assume I would double up the shipping charges, and be out a small fortune.
The one option that I believe will deliver the biggest bang for the buck is having a custom HTSC fabricated domestically, here in the United States. There appears to be a number of outfits that could do this. My thinking is have them silver the end-caps of a cylindrical HTSC, and pre-attach electrodes, at their facility. If I can afford it I will probably order several of them.
18 April 14 Have been wrestling with computer problems ever since I purchased a new computer. For some reason I have been unable to access that part of my website to make updates, for weeks, on any of the three computers that I have at home. I called my website provider this morning and they were able to access the section in question from their office. They suggested that it could be a browser problem. Tried both Chrome and IE 7 and 8 on the three computers, but no luck. So, I downloaded Firefox, and am on the laptop at a coffee shop, and now can get in. But, I disabled Firefox for this website, so am not sure if that cured it somehow, just by being in the background. Have also been busy on taxes and a tremendous amount of yard work over the last several weeks. Due to terrific wind storms I've been cleaning up fallen trees and branches over a sizable swath of my property. As a result the project has taken a back burner. One good development is that all the frost heaves have finally flattened out, so transporting liquid nitrogen is no longer a problem. With only a few more property projects to undertake, I should be back to experiments fairly soon.
29 March 14 Am just getting over an unpleasant bout with the stomach flu that has been going around. It just knocked me out both physically and mentally. Doing long walks over the past few weeks in subzero windchills, probably precipitated it. The phenomenally cold weather in our region, which has been rivaling, or exceeding, what is normal for Siberia is finally abating. The first two thirds of this week our temperatures dipped to as much as 23 below zero Fahrenheit (−31C). With my strength recovering from the virus, and temps returning to almost normal, I can start thinking of getting the project going again. Also, the incredible frost heaves that make transporting liquid nitrogen on the local highways extremely hazardous, are beginning to level out.
04 March 14 Most of my small parts order arrived on Saturday and I'm now sorting them into labeled drawers. It shouldn't take me too long to finish this task, and then I can proceed to wire the Molex header connector to the accelerometer PC board, and it's mate to the wire harness coming from the batteries, power switch, and 5K rheostat.
13 March 14 Found my missing electronic parts at our local post office. The mailman was unable to drive down my steep, ice covered, 375 foot driveway, so the box was retained at the post office for pick-up. All these parts are now sorted in bins and stowed. In the meantime my home computer developed a major problem on Thursday, March 06, preventing me from accessing the internet. I had downloaded Skype, but some malware came with it. Unable to fix the computer myself, I took it to a local store. I finally retrieved the computer last night, and a new computer will be picked up today to replace this 12 year old machine, assuming I can get out. I'm currently waiting for a minor blizzard to subside, which coated the driveway with more ice, followed by an inch or two of snow. The wind is howling at about 40 miles an hour. Combined with a temperature of 9 degrees Fahrenheit it's pretty unpleasant outside, and it will be some time before I spread sand along the entire driveway.
04 March 14 Most of my small parts order arrived on Saturday and I'm now sorting them into labeled drawers. It shouldn't take me too long to finish this task, and then I can proceed to wire the Molex header connector to the accelerometer PC board, and it's mate to the wire harness coming from the batteries, power switch, and 5K rheostat.
The unusual cold weather continues in the northeast USA, with temperatures in the region mostly below zero Fahrenheit. It was −7F (−22C) in my town, while Saranac Lake, NY registered −13F (−25C) this morning. These temperatures are 25F to 30F below average for this time of year.
26 February 14 Attached a twisted wire pair to the potentiometer, and installed it on the side of the accelerometer module last night. This morning will prep the accelerometer PC board to accept the 5 pin Molex header, with extra wiring going to the appropriate points on the board. Will then be ready to just drop the header in and solder it into the PC board when the items arrives. The good news is that one parts order shipped yesterday, while an even bigger parts order shipped this morning. So, at the latest, all the parts should be here by next Monday.
We continue to endure exceptionally cold weather for the northeast USA, with temps at night dropping to below zero, and highs only in the 20's F. But the deep snow is superb for cross-country skiing.
24 February 14 Have been busy modifying the accelerometer module. The plan is to install a potentiometer on the side to enable external adjustment of the null point of the first op-amp. This will permit the oscilloscope to be DC coupled in the highest gain setting of 5 mV per division. Also intend to have the accelerometer circuit board be modular, so in future it can be replaced by a better quality accelerometer and op-amp stages. To accomplish that a Molex 5 pin header will be mounted to the board and a mating connector will terminate the wire harness. Just ordered an array of connectors through an electronics supplier. While I wait for them to arrive I'll install the potentiometer.
12 February 14 Finally ran the liquid nitrogen experiment with interesting results today. The accelerometer, in its aluminum Bud Box, was placed 4 inches from the superconductor's geometric center. A negative going pulse of just above 1 mV, equating to about 1 milli-g acceleration at the detector, was observed with duration of about 70 microseconds on a number of runs. This is much longer than than the 1 microsecond, or so, that the capacitors take to discharge through a dead short. But such a long-duration pulse is exactly what is expected since it reflects the intrinsic time-constant of the overall LCR circuit, that includes the coil (L) used to induce a current in the superconductor. These ~70 microsecond pulses initiated at precisely the moment the discharge began, rose exponentially before leveling out in approximately 35 microseconds, and decayed to baseline in another 35 microseconds. The pulses only occurred in runs after the superconductor was evidently 'reset' by bringing a strong permanent magnet close to one side of the superconductor before the run. My interpretation is that a strong, coherent supercurrent was broken by the irregular field, induced by the permanent magnet, thus allowing a fresh, large-scale current to start up again with a new capacitor discharge.
After the superconductor dropped below Tc no more pulses were observed. Previous dry-run tests to see if the accelerometer was affected by the coil's rapidly changing magnetic field, when in close proximity, were negative. This would seem to rule out an electromagnetic explanation for the observed signal. But, at 1 milli-g the signal is at the accelerometer's sensitivity threshold so it's desirable to improve on this result, if possible, to validate the reality of the supposed anomalous signal. The voltage discharges into the surrounding coil ranged from 480 to 580 volts, with corresponding power inputs of 60 and 72 joules. The signal's weakness was surely due, in part, to the relatively slow rise time of the coil's magnetic field. Additionally, in future a ring-shaped YBCO superconductor will be used, since that will confine the current path to a single, concentrated loop. It's difficult to be sure what the geometry of the current loops were in the continuous, solid, hockey-puck shaped YBCO chip. There might have been multiple eddy currents, each potentially producing its own anomalous acceleration signal, but not in an additive fashion for a given point in space beyond the superconductor. In prinicple, therefore, a ring-shaped geometry for the YBCO superconductor should produce a more robust signal. And, ultimately, a truly rapid acceleration of the electron supercurrent can best be achieved by directly discharging the capacitors through the superconductor itself; such as was done by Evgeny Podkletnov in Russia, and Claude Poher in France. That approach is definitely on tap for a future experiment.
10 February 14 I had intended to run experiments last week, but unfortunately re-activated an old back injury. It was so painful just transiting from a sitting position to a standing position was excruciatingly painful. Even walking produced pain. Part of the problem is excess weight. With well below normal average temperatures this winter overeating becomes a problem. I shaved a few pounds last week, so at least my pants aren't so tight. If I can manage to knock off 10 pounds from my current 150 pounds, that should do the trick. Am relatively pain free this morning, so I might run the experiments today.
31 January 14 Yesterday I busied myself with leveling the table, on which the cryostat sits, and making a precision measurement of the height the superconductor is above this table, and above the desk on which the detector sits. This is to ensure that the longitudinal plane, defined by the superconductor disc, aligns exactly with the very tiny accelerometer chip. This is important since it's assumed that the anomalous acceleration 'signal' will be confined to this plane. To determine the depth which the YBCO chip sits within the cryostat cup I cut a 5.75 inch length of .75 inch wide by .125 inch aluminum bar. A hole was drilled 1.75 inches from one end of this bar, and 1.875 inches from one side. This hole was tapped for an 8-32 sized screw. An 8-32 threaded rod was then inserted and adjusted until it just touched the aluminum dummy superconductor. Where the aluminum bar extended beyond the cryostat and it's plywood support, a second measurement was made to determine its height above the formica table. With these two measurements the exact position of the superconductor above the table was established.
A series of 500 volt discharges through a coil surrounding the aluminum disc ersatz superconductor was then conducted, while monitoring the location on the scope trace where an anomalous signal is expected to appear. This was done to see if the rapidly changing magnetic field of the coil falsely triggered the accelerometer. Virtually no interfering signal was noted, despite the coil being only 4 inches from the accelerometer. Today I will be away from home all day, so will perform the experiment next week.
23 January 14 Just went through one of my lazy streaks, not doing a thing on the project for several weeks. Partly it's due to the winter weather which seems to drain one's energy and spirit, but also I've been doing other activities. Last night, and this morning, I ran the high voltage system, and was surprised how slowly it was charging the capacitor bank. In fact, I couldn't even reach 300 volts, after an abnormally long charging interval. I suspected the 12 volt supply, consisting of two 6 volt lantern cells in series, was depleted. Sure enough, when I monitored this supply it was only 4 volts, during the charging cycle. Presently I'm using screw-top lantern cells, which are very convenient since I can use quick-connect spade lugs to hook them up to the circuit. Unfortunately, these screw top batteries have very low amp-hours, made obvious by their light weight - about a third of the spring-top lantern cells.
So I have several options. I could adapt the battery holder to accept the spring-tops (entailing a lot of mechanical work), or I could search the internet for higher amp-hour screw-top lantern cells. A third option would be to go with a rechargeable 12 volt battery, like a gel-cell, and install a charging jack on the Main Project Board for convenience. So I'll be pursuing these various options over the next few days.
And, I also need to order some new superconductors with flat surfaces, if I can find them. There's at least one supplier that might have what I'm looking for, who offers an elongated cylindrical YBCO superconductor with silvered ends. That configuration will enable direct electrical contact with the superconductor, and discharge of the capacitor bank through it. I believe this will result in a much more robust acceleration signal than the magnetic induction approach, simply because of the direct application of the electric field to accelerate the lattice ions and electrons along the current axis. With the induction method applied to a flat, solid, circular YBCO chip, or ring-shaped chip, the signal would radiate out in all directions, of which only a small portion would align with the detector.
04 January 14 Am visiting with relatives now that roads are passable. This morning my thermometer dropped to −13F (−25C). It would have dropped to −20F (−29C), except for the cloud cover, which moderated temperatures in the region. Yesterday, and this morning, I worked on the website to improve readability, and am also teaching myself CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) coding to improve overall presentability. The plan is to reduce the size of the index page by transferring sections of it to internal links. Will also update the "About the Experiments" section to reflect recent improvements in the experimental arrangements.
02 January 14 The stay with relatives was cancelled due to the weather. New England is in the grip of a classic Northeaster with subzero cold to follow later. It began snowing in the wee hours this morning, and won't stop till tomorrow afternoon. So I'm marooned in my house. Currently it is 13 degrees Fahrenheit (−10.5C). The high tomorrow in my area will be 6F (−14.4C), and −22F (−30C) tomorrow night as Arctic air funnels down the US east coast. But these temperatures pale compared to northern Minnesota where it dipped yesterday to −47F (−44C). So will just do some tests with an 'ersatz' superconductor made of aluminum.
29 December 13 Today I oriented the cryostat, with its wire contact arc source, 90 degrees to the table, so that it directly faced the accelerometer. I placed the accelerometer on a separate table 14 inches away. To my delight, the sound burst, showing as a raggedy, zigzag waveform, began 1500 micro-seconds after the trigger pulse initiated the arc. This translated to a speed-of-sound measurement of 1100 feet per second; exactly right for ambient conditions and sea-level. This is the final test of the over-all system, before actual experiments begin. I'll be with relatives probably the rest of the week celebrating New Years, so it will be early January before I do the experiments.
26 December 13 Beautiful results! Cut two short pieces of 14 gauge copper wire and attached them to the + and - terminals on the Direct Discharge Module. The ends of the two wires (cut at an angle) were then made to touch each other to make a pointy contact. I then set the scope for two traces: the top being the output of the accelerometer, the bottom displaying the trigger pulse that discharges the capacitor bank into the superconductor. As expected, a bright arc was created at the junction, along with a loud report.
Surprisingly, the acoustic impulse arrived 1400 micro-seconds after the trigger pulse. The direct, straight line path between arc and sensor was just under 5 inches, which would have entailed a 388 micro-second delay. However, the sound burst had to pass through an inch of foam on this pathway, and foam is used for sound dampening. But the wall, (a good sound reflector), was 9 inches away from both arc and sensor. So it appears the strongest component of the sound burst took this clear-air pathway, which works out exactly right time-wise. The waveform was roughly triangular in form, indicating a continuous band of superimposed frequencies. This is precisely what is expected due to the nature of the sound source.
With acoustic interference no longer an issue, the next stage is to run experiments with liquid nitrogen. But today's snowstorm put the kibosh on that. If my LN2 supplier is open, I might run the experiment tomorrow.
24 December 13 Uploaded a close-up of the module (shown upside down) that is used to directly discharge current through the superconductor. Not shown is the fiberglass cradle that secures the one inch superconductor in place. The fiberglass paddles are slideable, to enable a firm anode contact on either side of the superconductor. Unfortunately, my only physically flat superconductor was ruined a long time ago, so I've been confined to inducing a supercurrent by the induction method, via a surrounding coil. I plan to mount two pointed metal probes on the Direct Discharge Module to create an arc between them. This should produce a sufficiently loud 'bang' to be detected by the accelerometer, and permit calibration of the acoustic signal's arrival time.
23 December 13 Two days ago, on Saturday, I confirmed the functioning of the time-offset circuit. It worked perfectly. Yesterday I planned to perform an integrated systems check to make sure all elements of the experiment worked together as planned. But I discovered that without liquid nitrogen in the cryostat the acoustic 'pop', emanating from the coil, as 1.2 megawatts was discharged through it, was too feeble to register at the accelerometer. So, today, I plan to replace the cryostat coil temporarily with a speaker, or piezoelectric buzzer to achieve sufficient amplitude to be detected by the accelerometer. This way I can be absolutely sure that the acoustic signal will be fully separated from the anomalous signal, and experiments with liquid nitrogen can then go forward.
19 December 13 Worked till midnight last nite assembling and hooking up a time-offset circuit that is now mounted on the Auxiliary Trigger Board. What I found was that the pulse from the RF receiver/decoder module on the HD4RX 4-channel relay unit arrives 1460 microseconds earlier than the pulse on the other HD4RX unit, mounted on the Main Project Board. This was the cause of my synchronization problem, though in actual fact it always synchronized; I just didn't realize that until I stretched the time base out on the scope to 500 milliseconds per division. So the time-offset circuit on the Auxiliary Trigger Board subtracts this unwanted extra interval.
It's early morning and I haven't tested the newly build circuit yet, but will probably do so later. This should solve the problem with simultaneous arrival of trigger pulses at the scope's trigger input and input to the 350 microsecond delay circuit on the Main Project Board. I could also have done it using the delayed-sweep feature on my Textronix 465B scope. But this approach is permanent, requiring no special settings on the 465B, or any other scope model. The newly constructed time-offset circuit is pictured in two new photos on the Index page. It's shown mounted on the Auxiliary Trigger Board in the bottom left photo. A close up shot in the bottom right photo shows the four test points made of 16 gauge wire loops for Vcc, ground, signal input and output. I'll be with relatives the next two days, so won't be working on the project again till Friday.
08 December 13 Incorporated the changes in the hard-wired delay board and it worked fine except for one small glitch. For some reason the voltage across the load doesn't drop to zero, but a residue of about 15 volts remains. It's not a deal breaker, but I am curious as to what causes it. I suspect it may be an issue of pulse width, as the Schmidt trigger's output pulse is extremely narrow. If my brothers and I don't make a trip to Foxwoods casino today I will put together a pulse widening circuit, and see if that cures the problem.
Another problem that cropped up was that I was not able to sync the scope using the auxiliary, battery-powered, trigger board that was intended to physically isolate the scope from the high voltage source on the main project board. It seems that the RF receivers have inherent signal delay of an order similar to, or greater than, my desired 350 microseconds. I had assumed there would be speed-of-light signal propagation through both receiver modules, resulting in simultaneous arrival of the trigger pulse to the inputs of both boards when the transmitter button was pressed.The only thing I can figure is there is some inductive or capacitive time delay along the signal path that varies from one receiver to another. This is something that I will also have to unravel.
03 December 13 At last, after days of intensive work, have managed to get a 350 microsecond delay circuit to function exactly as intended on a prototype board. The circuit utilizes a dual version of the 555 timer, a venerable old IC introduced in 1971. The plan was simplicity itself; to use the first timer to create a 350 microsecond pulse, with the second timer to be triggered by the falling edge of the 350 microsecond pulse. The output of the second timer, a short positive going pulse, then trips the thyristor which, in turn, dumps the charge from the capacitor bank into the coil surrounding the superconductor. Encountered quite a few electronic problems, but these are all resolved. Now simply need to incorporate the changes onto the hard-wired time-delay board.
19 November 13 Have been making steady progress on the circuit and wiring harness changes needed to completely isolate acoustic signals from the anomalous acceleration signals that are assumed to propagate at light speed, or a significant fraction thereof. The number one relay on both 4-channel, remote-control UHF boards have been bypassed and disabled. These relays no longer introduce noise and time delay during the capacitor bank discharge cycle. Also, finally documented the rat's maze of wiring on the mother board, making it clearer what wiring changes were needed, and still may need to be implemented. Tested the scope trigger board with my old oscilloscope and it worked perfectly. The only remaining task is to adjust the timing delay circuit, which I suspect will require some major circuit modifications to achieve the desired result.
22 October 13 Have finally gotten a handle on my finances, and the situation isn't quite a dire as I originally feared. So now I'm back on the project. Thanksgiving is a long way off, and I'll be buying a precooked turkey, with relatives providing other condiments. So no need to sweat over devoting too much time on the upcoming holiday.
16 October 13 Shortly after my last update I was hit with several major repair issues on my home furnace and automobile. This placed me in a tight financial situation. I was already spending beyond my income stream, and this greatly exacberated the situation. Am taking steps to reduce my financial outlay, but am discovering that when a service provider has a steady, monthly, 'gravy train', they don't let go of it easily. Right now I still have my old cell phone and am seemingly unable to cancel it. Same problem with a magazine that arrives weekly. These organizations make it extremely difficult to discontinue their services. And only this past Friday a big stone hit my car's windshield. This necessitated running around to insurance agents and repair facilities. While the cost was out of pocket and modest, it was still something I could ill afford. On top of all this I've been elected to host Thanksgiving this year by my extended family. So I've been busy cleaning and organizing my home, installing a Lazy Susan, for example. Until I have my financial house in order, the superconductor project will, unfortunately, remain on the back burner. Hopefully I will make some progress today on dealing with my various cost centers, once I get past the robotic phone voices. How nice it was in the old days when you actually talked to a human.
25 September 13 To my delight the Tektronix 465B 100 Mhz oscilloscope arrived before noon this past Monday. It was well packed thanks to the sender having it done professionally. It worked absolutely perfectly. I want to give him the highest possible rating on Ebay as soon as I figure out how to do it. Am progressing with the circuit changes and hope to conduct new tests with liquid nitrogen sometime next week.
21 September 13 The necessary modifications to the two-stage, time-delay circuit I thought would be straightforward, but they have been anything but. I eventually realized the new circuit was not behaving as it is supposed to. Having worked as a technician for nearly four decades I've encountered far more difficult problems. But that was in a fully equipped laboratory, with fully functioning oscilloscopes and every concievable tool and electronic replacement part. Working at home I'm stymied by equipment problems. Neither of my 30-something year old oscilloscopes is fully functional. Both have only a single operating channel, making circuit diagnostics tricky. However, before leaving on a 3 day vacation I discovered the source of the problem. Now that I'm back home I can move forward with the circuit changes. Plus I have another oscilloscope arriving mid-week that has two good channels; the same model as one of my other scopes, which has a bad channel.
02 September 13 Am at the last day of a hectic, 3 day, Labor day weekend away from home. Have been visiting with relatives, and attending dinner parties. Should return home later tonite to resume work on the project tomorrow. Have more or less determined the modifications required of the electronic circuitry.
30 August 13 A few days ago finished construction of the scope trigger circuit pictured on the index page top right. Just replaced this image with all the elements of the experiment including the Textronix 465B scope that will monitor signal. This new set up should allow me to clearly distinquish the acoustic impulse from the putative acceleration signal, which is assumed to propagate at light speed, or some significant fraction thereof. The intent is to delay the capacitor bank discharge about 300 microseconds after the scope is triggered via the new circuit. The spacing of the accelerometer and cryostat is such that another 300 microseconds will pass before the acoustic 'pop', emanating from the cryostat, will register on the scope. With the Time/Div. set at 100 microseconds on the scope the acceleration signal is expected to materialize at around the 3rd graticule from the left side of the screen. Am making some more modifications to the delay circuit as I quickly discovered too much timing 'slop' is invested in the relay arm movement. Also discovered I need to reduce the RC time constant in the trigger stage of the delay circuit, as it is too large. So it's back out with the soldering iron.
21 August 13 Finally finished wire-brushing and re-painting my two porches with a stretch of dry weather last Sunday. Can now resume work on the project. Last week began mechanical fabrication of an RF-linked, battery powered, module which will trigger the oscilloscope just before the capacitor bank discharges into the superconductor. The sought for acceleration signal will then have a clean section of trace between the left edge of the oscilloscope's screen and the arrival of the acoustic impulse about 2/3rds of the way across the screen. Intended to have that module finished a few days ago, but an ant infestation, plus some biking in warm, late summer weather delayed it. Hope to at least get the battery pack and RF board mounted today, assuming some hardware arrives from UPS. Am also planning to purchase a digital oscilliscope with a USB port so I can save screen images, in JPEG format, to a flash drive for later upload to the website.
03 August 13 Began cleaning up outdated HTML code on Index page, and plan to resume work on project tomorrow. Extremely hot weather in July made it too uncomfortable to work without air conditioning.
14 May 13 Mounted the time delay circuit on the mother board, and was delighted that it worked almost perfectly. The earlier problem of premature capacitor bank discharge resurfaced. I don't expect that to be a big problem, just some component value adjustments. This project is moving towards a more sophisticated approach to characterizing the acceleration pulses, reported by others, to emanate from superconductors under certain conditions. I have seen tentative evidence of this phenomena in my own experimental runs, but due to extraneous factors, I'm not at the level of being fully convinced of its reality. The principle problem is the masking of the signal by strong acoustic 'pops' significantly larger than the anomalous signal. Owing to the great difference between the speed of sound and the assumed near light speed of the anomalous signal (claimed by others) it should be possible to isolate the two. This is the object of the present experimental modifications, not yet complete. Noise cancellation via signal inversion is also in the queue for near future modifications.
08 May 13 Have had a phenomenal stretch of good Spring weather for two weeks, so have been biking and hiking a lot, and visiting relatives, to the neglect of the project. At last, much needed rain has arrived in New England to slake the thirst of the region's vegetation. Am finally working on the add-on circuit again. A few days ago, before an overnite stay at a relative's home, I finished the mechanical work of mounting a new PC board, which was a standard Radio Shack variety, that I cut down to size. This necessitated moving a battery pack a few inches to make room. Began soldering components to the board this morning.>
29 April 13 Solved the spontaneous triggering problem this morning by lowering the input sensitivity of the delay circuit. Luckily it didn't require heroic measures. So now it's on to soldering together a permanent time-delay circuit board and mounting it on the main project board.
28 April 13 Ran the test-bed circuit yesterday morning after wiring it temporarily to the project board. For some unknown reason it worked fine below about 550 volts, but above that voltage it spontaneously discharged the capacitors, the moment charging stopped. It's very desirable to have the full 1000 volt range of the system available for experiments. Tried a quick fix with two decoupling capacitors (low pass, high pass), across the delay circuit supply, last nite, but that didn't solve the problem. The delay circuit, on a development board, is visible on the left side of the top left photo on the index page. It's rather sloppily attached with loose wires to the main project board. It seems evident that at a certain charging voltage, a small electrical 'jolt' makes its way to the dual 556 timer, tripping it. To combat this problem shielded coax on the input and output of the time delay board, plus a metal box Faraday cage around the delay board would certainly help. But, it's also possible that the electrical 'jolt' is coupling directly through either the input or output lines. Looks like I'll be doing circuit diagnostics for a bit, till I solve this problem. I'm fully confident that it's solvable.
24 April, 13: After discovering that I had tied the temporary trigger pushbutton to ground instead of Vcc, I found that the delay circuit worked exactly as advertised, which delighted me. I set the delay time for several seconds on the first 555, and a similar time on the second 555, so I could visually see the LED light up, for a reasonable period, after a measurable delay. Next I'll temporarily wire this circuit into the main project board, after adjusting the time constants to the final values, and see if it works without a hitch. The last stage is permanently wiring an add-on board to the system. Still have to wire up the new reciever board with a 12 volt battery pack and on-off switch, and provide a BNC cable connection to the oscilloscope's trigger input. I have high hopes to be able to finally isolate the acoustic 'pop' from the cryostat, and completely elimnate this as a source of false signal. The add-on circuit is shown with its schematic, on the right, traced out with a yellow marker pen. This is standard technician practice to keep track of what has, and hasn't, been wired into the circuit.
14 April, 13: Despite scambling to get taxes done by tomorrow, and a bit of flu with sore throat, I've been working on the delay circuit design. A temporary test setup has been cobbled together, from an older jig and some metal work to mount the pushbutton on the platform (top, left photo, index page). A power switch has also been added to the older jig. Once the circuit design is finalized and I'm satisfied that it all works properly, it will be permanently incorporated into the main project board. Another advantage of this delay circuit is that any interference from the handheld remote RF transmitter is eliminated as the discharge occurs several hundred microseconds after the transmitter button is pressed. Am now looking at digital storage scopes to permanently record results.
2 April, 13: The RF radio link circuit board arrived at my mailbox several days ago. At first I thought designing the add-on delay circuit would be a piece of cake, but being rusty in my electronics, (having not practiced it for a while), it turned out to be a somewhat trickier than I thought. But I think I have a viable design, which I started to breadboard today. It utilizes the two 555 timers in a 556 package. The first 555 is set up to provide a positive going delay pulse of the desired duration. The second 555 is triggered on the falling edge of this pulse. Once triggered, this second 555 outputs a brief positive going 6 volt pulse which trips a TLP360JF optoisolator. The output of the TLP360JF then triggers a high power thyristor, dumping the capacitor bank into either the superconductor directly, or through a surrounding coil to induce a current within the superconductor. The weather is perfect for working indoors - about 32 degrees F. howling winds that must be near 50 MPH, and snow squalls. Took an afternoon walk and almost had hypothermia; face and hands were raw and numb.
23 March, 13: Have taken advantage of the surprisingly cold, snowy weather for late March, and have XC skiied for the last three days. The snow cover is amazingly persistent with the constant northwest wind and scudding clouds. We may have to hire a new groundhog as Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early Spring! Finally am getting back to the project. I brought my electronic equipment up from the ice cold basement to work in the warm upstairs. I'm breadboarding a time delay circuit which will soon be incorporated in my experimental package. Presently, the capacitors are discharged through the superconductor via a remote keychain radio link. I'm going to interpose the delay circuit between the reciever relay board and the thyristor circuit which 'dumps' the capacitor charge through the superconductor. I have such a complicated wiring harness that it will take some work to see what has to be cut and rerouted. Am also short on space, so may have to build an elevated platform to mount the new circuitry. All this will take time. Additionally I have to order a new reciever board that will need to be provided with it's own power source, etc. This will recieve the remote keychain signal at the same instant as the main project board, directly triggering the oscilliscope sweep. Unfortunately, I have to search around for my paperwork on this remote keychain circuit system, as there's no identification on the board itself. But I think I have that documentation in the basement in a plastic storage box that has all my manuals for various devices and equipment. Hopefully it is still available online, otherwise I will have to modify my plans.
24 January, 13: With 11 below zero Fahrenheit outdoor temps in the morning, and teens for highs, I've decided against transporting any liquid nitrogen at least until next week with highs just above freezing. Any spillage from slipping on ice in my driveway could lead to instant frostbite. Am running 'dry' experiments to determine the source of the 'popping' sound that accompanies the high voltage/amperage discharge through the induction coil surrounding the cryostat. The goal is to eliminate, or greatly attenuate, this acoustic signature. There is no sound emitted when discharging the capacitor bank through my ersatz 1 inch, aluminum disc, superconductor; even when immersed in liquid nitrogen. But, unluckily, the hobbyist grade YBCO superconductor discs are never flat, but have complex distortions that cannot be compensated for easily by machining the contacting anodes to conform to the YBCO disc's surface topography. I tried abrading a YBCO disc flat with sandpaper, but ended up ruining its superconducting properties, probably due to moisture absortion. Another attempt using conductive epoxy applied to both sides led to the same result. Custom ordering a YBCO disc that is machine flat is beyond my hobbyist budget. So, for now, I'm restricted to inducing a supercurrent via magnetic fields. Using niobium metal as the superconductor would solve the flatness problem, but that requires liquid helium. I haven't contacted every nearby laboratory that uses liquid helium yet to see if they would permit use of thier equipment. But that seems like a long shot due to liability issues.
22 December, 12: Was going to run some control experiments last weekend, but then came down with the worst case of flu since the 80s. Finally recovering from it, and will start experiments this week to gain a handle on false positive signals. The LHC results from this summer have left a tantalizing hint of possible new physics beyond the Standard Model. But, unfortunately, it wlll be 2015 before the LHC returns to service after several years of upgrade work.
13 October, 12: Removed the link to an internet article regarding the supposed superluminal neutrinos in the OPERA experiment at the Grand Sasso tunnel in Italy. The problem was found to be a loose fiber optic connector that fed into the optical to electrical converter box that recieved timing signals from a surface GPS system. What happened was that the attenuated light pulse reduced the photodiode's output such that a capacitor that normally took 200 nanoseconds to reach a trigger threshold took 270 nanoseconds. That 70 nanoseconds was subtracted from the transit time of the muon neutrinos originating at CERN, giving the illusion of faster-than-light travel.
29 September, 12: Cleaned up HTML coding issues on the "Triplet Higg's..." link. Added a paper written in 1994 that ties in with the overall Field Interchange Hypothesis labeled "The Multifamily Structure of Matter". It postulates the existence of weak north and weak south monopoles, corresponding to the muon neutrino and tau neutrino, respectively. Neither of the scientists I queried about going down to their facility to use the liquid helium has gotten back to me, unfortunately. I'll email them again.
17 August 12: Yesterday I contacted a scientist that I worked with previously. at a facility that does use liquid helium, but in another department. I know the people in this department and am hoping they will acquiesce to my performing experiments with a niobium superconductor in their laboratory. If permission is granted I'll pack my experimental set-up and drive the 150 miles to their facility.
19 June 12: Have beem working on a sci-fi novel during the Spring and Summer, so have neglected the experiments. Might be a few more weeks before I submit the novel to a publisher, then will resume work on the project. Don't plan to conduct any more experiments with liquid nitrogen and YBCO superconductors. The new goal is to try to improve upon the experimental results achieved by the Austrian Research Center. They mechanically spun-up a niobium metal ring leading to detection of acceleration signals of about 100 micro-g's. Since the ring was subjected to angular accelerations of just under 10 g's that means a signal to acceleration ratio of 1 part in 105 was achieved. My intention is to subject the condensate within the niobium metal to accelerations of much higher magnitude by applying up to 1000 volt discharges through the niobium target. Haven't yet lined up a lab that routinely works with liquid helium, where I could conduct the experiments, but am checking around.
14 March 12: Have been researching the possibility of using liquid helium, rather than liquid nitrogen, as the coolant, so that I could experiment with machinable metallic superconductors like niobium. This would, of course, allow a much wider range of shapes and sizes for the superconductors, permitting experiments that heretofore have been impossible to do with the mechanically warped high temperature ceramic superconductors. But I can see that this is something that I can't do on my own, as the equipment is expensive, and liquid helium is much more difficult to work with than liquid nitrogen. There was a company in a nearby town that offered to provide me assistance. I plan to call them and see if they use liquid helium in their facility. This could open up a whole new ballgame.
24 February 12: Ran a series of experiments with one of the earliest set-ups, using a 40 mfd/450 volt capacitor. Superconductivity was checked by the Meissner effect. Signal was observed at between 2 and 3 times the noise level on numerous runs. The superconductor was subjected to a pulsed DC magnetic field from a coil only 1/4 inch larger in diameter than the 1 inch superconductor. However, the current discharge was only about 1/10th what was used in other experiments. The small amplitude signal was thus expected. The previous experimental run, using this capacitor, was run at my lab on Cape Cod a year and a half ago, which produced comparable levels of signal. Having recovered from my biking injury, more experiments will be run soon. Am particularly wanting to use direct voltage discharge through the body of the superconductor, if I can obtain one that is not warped, so that electrical contact over its entire surface becomes feasible.
10 February 12: Update: I was a bit optimistic on my recovery time from a really bad sprain, but am at last getting better. I was reluctant to run liquid nitrogen experiments, with the danger of possibly tripping and falling due to the injury. Certainly would be no fun splattering LN2 all over the place, not to mention damaging an expensive dewar. Will probably resume running experiments next week. [ 27 January 12]: Am recovering from injuries sustained from biking extremely steep hills in the months of December and into early January. Sure wish I had put that energy into the project, would have been far less strenuous. I'm starting to feel good enough to begin getting back on the project.
03 January 12: Having seen tantalizing glimpses of apparent acceleration signals in the course of numerous experients over the past year and a half, with many different set-ups, my New Year's resolution is to shoot for bigger and better. The 2012 goal is to amplify the presumed acceleration signals to a level where the signal is unambiguous within the noise field. I note that the Austrian Research Center (ARC) group never even reached 10 g's of mechanical acceleration on their superconductor. Yet, with a far more sensitive set-up than I have, they were able to extract signal from the background noise. I believe that the acceleration moments induced on the electron-lattice condensates, within my superconductors, were several orders of magnitude higher than in the ARC experiments. This was possible by using electric and magnetic fields as the accelerant agent, rather than mechanical means. This could explain how, with a much less sensitive set-up, there were strong hints of genuine signal. There is much room for improvement in my experimental methadology, and this will be addressed this year.
14 December 11: I'm not sure I want to believe the results of the latest experimental run - the first to use a purely mechanical design. When the chilled superconductor was subjected to a changing magnetic field it always produced a robust acceleration pulse, about four times what Podkletnov originally claimed - 0.2% g, or about 2 milli-g's, as best as I could discern on the scope. But, unfortunately, with the mechanical apparatus chilled as well, moisture, or ice, condensed on the plunger shaft increasing its sliding resistance through the guide holes. This resulted in more mechanical noise. With the apparatus and superconductor returned to room temperature, it was mechanically quieter, and virtually no signal appeared on the accelerometer. Only by slamming the plunger down very hard could I produce a barely detectable oscillation in the accelerometer output. So, once again, I'm not totally convinced I'm seeing a real signal. Possibly tomorrow I'll repeat the experiment with an aluminum disc of the same size as the superconductor in a liquid nitrogen bath. That should replicate the enhanced mechanical noise. Should the signal look the same as with the superconductor, then further design changes will be needed to resolve the icing problem.
10 December 11: Have been dragging my feet on the project for a while now, but finally am back to it. Rummaging around local hardware stores I found just the items needed to hold the permanent magnet securely to the bottom of the spring loaded plunger. Had to fabricate new plastic frames to hold the superconductor, since the permanent magnet was too wide for the old ones (lying on the table in photo). The 1/4-20, 3 inch, spring-loaded bolt (with ring magnet at the bottom) is simply pressed down rapidly till it just touches the upper plastic frame holding the superconductor. The orientation of the magnet's magnetic field is such that it should rapidly induce a supercurrent in the superconductor's tangential plane. However, since the superconductor is disc shaped instead of the desired single supercurrent around the circumference, multiple small circulating supercurrents will probably form, each a magnetic field pinning center. Had planned to purchase the 250 dollar ring-shaped superconductor, but decided to see how things worked with the much cheaper disc superconductors first. I still need to order some more stand-offs to increase the spacing between the magnet and superconductor, which, unfortunately, local hardware stores don't carry. This system is mechanically quiet, and dispenses entirely with an electromagnetic pulse that resulted in an unwanted acoustic 'pop' that plagued earlier designs. Hopefully, with an 'acoustically quiet' induction of a supercurrent I will only be seeing genuine acceleration signals, with no uncertainty over its orgin.
22 November 11: Uploaded photo of almost complete mechanical system. It's basically a spring loaded plunger, with a permanent magnet on the end of the rod - not yet attached. When it's manually pressed down with the superconductor cooled below it's critical temperature, a supercurrent should be suddenly induced. Simultaneously I'll be monitoring the accelerometer output fed to the scope. Should be able to repeat the experiment a few times with one charge of liquid nitrogen, by letting the superconductor warm above critical. With the nice weather, I've been pedaling various rail trails in Massachusetts.
10 November 11: Am finally recovered from an episode of serious back pain. While shoveling almost 2 feet of heavy, wet snow on my 400 foot driveway, on 30 October, my old back injury began acting up. It's a herniated disc, which occurred 15 years ago from helping a brother split and stack 10 cords of frozen cordwood in December of 1997. Shortly afterwards, on my regular job, I manhadled some heavy marine batteries, handed to me from an 8 foot platform, and rotated them down to the ground. That was the coup de grace, as the doctor later explained. But with vitamin rich food, and special exercises it heals up eventually. Yesterday I resumed work on a purely mechanical method of inducing a supercurrent in the superconductor. I need to order some parts today, so it will probably be next week before testing is resumed.
26 October 11: Got busy doing various household chores, so didn't perform the water substitute for liquid nitrogen test till today. The setup was identical in all other respects. Results were quite interesting, however, and seem to add weight to a possibly genuine acceleration signal, observed during the superconductor test with LN2 this past Friday. At least, subjectively, the acoustic 'pop' from the water filled cryostat appeared to be of similar magnitude to that observed during Friday's test, but the structure of the resulting waveform, seen on the oscilloscope, was markedly different. The average frequency was abuot 5 times higher, amplitude about half. Most important the 'damped oscillator' like signal was of much longer duration than in the actual test. All these differences could, of course, just reflect different acoustic properties between liquid nitrogen and water, superconductor vs. metal washer, etc. So the next step is to complete the purely mechanical system and perform further experiments. Uploaded several photos of Friday's test. Also, at some point, plan to reduce the size of this unwieldy page by placing the photos on another link.
23 October 11: This past Friday, against my better judgement, I decided to go ahead with an LN2 test using my older, smaller solenoid, in the hope that the vexing problem of a 'popping' sound emanating from the coil would be substantially diminished. I ran control tests without the LN2 first, and was pleased to see that the acoustic 'pop', was audibly quite small, as with the larger coil in a similar dry run. Once again, the signal was a pure sine wave, of very small amplitude. So I went ahead with the liquid nitrogen test, but to my exasperation the 'pop' from the coil, as 400-600 volts was discharged through it from the 560 mfd capacitor bank, was once again substantially louder. The accelerometer signal was, curiously, quite similar in amplitude and shape to that observed by the Austrian Research Center in their 2003-2007 experiments, where they spun-up a ring-shaped, niobium superconductor. Today I plan to perform one more control test using water, and a 'dummy' aluminum disc superconductor, as my remaining liquid nitrogen has evaporated. After that I will work on a purely mechanical design that eliminates the coil altogether.
16 October 11: With gorgeous, dry weather, as high as 82 F., in the first half of October I couldn't countenance the thought of being indoors experimenting, so have been mountain biking with a friend, hiking or kayaking daily. But with the return of cold and rain, I've gotten back on the project. The biggest bugaboo is the loud 'pop' that comes from the cryostat/solenoid when current is discharged through the coil. Experimenting yesterday, only a tiny signal, from the accelerometer, was discernible from this acoustic signal, and then only when the oscilloscope's scan rate was fast enough for the momentary, pure sine wave, to be visible. During the actual experiments on Oct. 1, a signal, at least 10 times larger was obtained in the superconducting state, which was no longer visible below Tc, with the scope's beam set at a slow rastor rate. Weeks ago I had intended to purchase a toroidal shaped superconductor, but then balked at the 228 dollar price. Now I'm rethinking that decision as I could induce a supercurrent in the YBCO toroid by simply passing a small magnet through its interior, and hopefully avoid an acoustic signal that seems to unavoidably accompany current discharge through a coil. Unfortunately, the vendor doesn't provide dimensional information on the solenoid shaped superconductor, so I will have to contact them first, to be sure I have a magnet small enough to pass through its center.
01 October 11: Ran LN2 tests yesterday afternoon, and observed well defined acceleration signal of the order of 10 milli-g's (.01% g), both positive and negative excursions, at the moment the 560 microfarad capacitor bank (charged between 400-500 volts) was discharged through the surrounding coil. This robust signal repeated about 15 times until the LN
22 September 11: Tried to upload picture, last nite, of mostly completed mousetrap-cum-graviton detector, but was unable to edit my site. Works fine this morning. Salvaged the torsion spring from one of my mousetraps, and built a sturdy aluminum frame around it. An 8-32 threaded shaft passes through the spring, and is anchored by bushings inserted into the aluminum hold-down blocks. A dark grey plastic extension arm reaches to the middle of the cryostat opening. Two small, 2-56 holes are drilled at the end to secure a vertical piece of plastic, which will press down on the superconductor. These will be customized, depending on the shape of the superconductor - disc or ring - and conform to the superconductor's profile to minimize mechanical stress. Will make those last pieces today, and begin 'dry' testing for false triggering. If all is satisfactory, should be able to run LN2 tests tomorrow, or next week.
15 September 11: Extra-dimensional gravitons are as elusive as mice. So what better way to capture them than by..., well yes, a mousetrap? I wanted a spring-loaded mechanism to firmly hold down the superconductor inside the cryostat, with the added advantage of quick insertion and quick release. That minimizes moisture exposure to the superconductor, which degrades it. The Index page photos show the preliminary layout of the mousetrap-cum-graviton detector. Originally planned to use the mousetrap itself, with an extension arm that angled into the cryostat to push down on the superconductor. But I realized the extension arm would twist sideways due to the crude construction of the mousetrap. So, instead, will use a threaded shaft through the torsion spring, with nuts tightened down on the extension arm. The shaft will rotate on bearings. Earlier filled the bottom of the cryostat with hot glue, which produced a level surface, even with the coil bottom. That will save LN2. Also milled out plastic cross pieces to support the superconductor in the mid part of the coil, which is visible in the photos. Am heading to the Cape today to stay with relatives. Will resume work on project Saturday evening.
06 September 11: To my surprise, it was the 9 volt battery, that powers the LCD voltmeter, which gave a false low reading for the high voltage capacitor bank's maximum voltage. I thought I was only reaching 480 volts, when, in reality, it was almost 800 volts. When I discovered this yesterday afternoon, I was delighted until, after a few 700-800 volt discharges the opto-isolator burned out again. I was going to drive to Radio Shack yesterday to pick up a batch of discrete 1000 volt diodes, and replace the single diode protectiing the opto-isolator with 2, or more, in series, but they were closed due to the Labor Day Holiday. With this burn-out problem solved, it's time to get down to business. Plan to wind a new coil, using stranded wire, that will be twice as many turns as the present test coil, and easier to wind than the solid copper wire. Then I have to build a non-metallic frame, inside the cryostat, to firmly hold the ring-shaped superconductor; which will be ordered today. While I wait for the ring-shaped superconductor to arrive, I'll conduct dry tests to be sure the accelerometer doesn't falsely trigger during the voltage discharge through the coil. Will also carefully document the experimental results in a nice, neat table.
04 September 11: At last have solved the opto-isolator burn-out problem (the left close-up photo, on the index page, shows the violet/gray, twisted pair, that runs from the elevated circuit board, above the step-up transformer, to a diode on the barrier strip) . It took some time to trace out the circuit, which has steadily grown in complexity over time. First I drew a 1/2 scale layout on paper of all the components and labeled them. With 4 barrier strips, 4 switches, 4 battery packs, 3 circuit boards, and all the associated wiring, this was quite tedious. But it enabled me to make several rough drawings showing all wiring pathways, and how they connected. From this a more conventional, and simplified schematic layout was derived. Instantly, I saw the problem. The inductive kick-back from the cryostat coil was getting into the opto-isolator via the resistor biasing network for the thyristor. Installing a diode at the input to this network solved the problem, at least up to 480 volts. I will need to replace the 6 volt batteries to reach up to 800 to 900 volts, as they are worn down.
18 August 11: Before heading to the Cape for vacation I was making a schematic and layout of my rather complex circuit, in an effort to get a handle on the opto-isolator burn out problem. This will take 1 or 2 more days, after I return home.
10 August 11: Have been going slow on the project, but yesterday replaced a pair of two postion barrier strips with four position barrier strips. An add-on aluminum support frame was fabricated to support the enlarged barrier strips. I can now insert different diodes in-line with the high voltage output to shield the semiconductors from the coil's inductive kick-back. To my disappointment the kick-back still fried my opto-isolator, that trips the SCR once 400 volts was reached. Even tried two 1000 volt diodes in series. Am thinking of replacing the opto-isolator with a transformer. Aside from this technical problem, only need to fabricate a support frame for a ring shaped superconductor, to hold it firmly in the cryostat. Decided to go with a ring-shaped superconductor, as the disk shape would produce multiple flux-pinning centers, rather than one big current loop, as desired.
24 July 11: Record breaking heat and humidity enveloped the Northeast USA for the last 5 days. Today, finally,the temperature and humidity have dropped back to the normal ranges. A shaded thermometer in my North facing, garage window registered 116 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday. Inside my house it's been over 100 F. during the day, and near 90 as late as midnight. Despite the discomfort have come up with a robust solenoid/cryostat design, as shown on the index page. The coil ends will be terminated with spade lugs. These, in turn, will be secured to the barrier strips. An addition pair of wires, for monitoring Tc will also terminate on the barrier strips. Have been kayaking daily on nearby lakes, usually in the afternoon.
18 July 11: Finally am getting around to fabricating the new solenoid-cryostat. The Rockwell BladeRunner works exactly as advertised. Hooked up my vacuum to the port on top and virtually no debris came out while cutting the 1/8th PVC sheet. Will keep at it until everything is done, and then proceed to experiments. A heavy duty 1200 volt diode on the output of the capacitor bank suppressed the inductive kickback in earlier experiments very effectively. So this will be permanently wired into the circuit.
14 July 11: With summer heat and humidity have been traveling to Cape Cod frequently for family get-to-gethers, and barbeques. The last three days have been especially oppresive; even sitting reading a book you are covered with sweat where you contact the chair. So, haven't done too much, except check out plumbing stores for items that would be useful in the project. Will be checking out furniture today with my two brothers, and will stay overnite at one of their houses. Just ordered through McMaster-Carr a bunch of threaded PVC couplings of a size and length appropriate for the superconductor's diameter. I was surprised that these were not carried by the local plumbing houses. These will be much more robust than the thin-walled pill bottles I was considering using for the solenoid-cryostat. Just winding the heavy duty, solid wire around these risks shattering them. As soon as these arrive can begin fabricating the new induction set-up.
24 June 11: Purchased a Rockwell BladeRunner table saw several days ago, and it's turning out to be very versatile. Am using it to shape the plastic endplates for my solid, copper alloy wire solenoid. My only problem is a lack of suitable plastic sheet stock, which no retail store carries. I had some black PVC, which is OK for machining, but almost impossible to see my cut lines, due to being black. So, having some semi-transparent red acrylic plastic, I'm shaping the end-plates out of that. Meantime I've ordered a ton of lighter colored PVC sheet, which should arrive next week. Am working with the red acrylic plastic right now, and should make some good progress before heading for a family get-to-gether tomorrow morning on Cape Cod. [18 June 2011 Post] Have been somewhat idle on the project lately, doing property chores, trimming, raking up last years leaves in a pine grotto between my neighbor and I. But, finally, with these chores completed am moving forward again. Went to the pharmacist and picked up several cylindrical pill bottles, one for each size superconductor that I have. Plan to wrap solid copper-alloy wire solenoids around these bottles after gluing plastic endplates on them to hold the coils in place. The cryostat's white plastic cup and pink foam insulation will be temporarily removed for these experiments, so enough room is available for the bulky coil. The bottom endplate will be secured by screws to the cryostat's plastic base.
06 June 11: Since, for the time being, I cannot directly apply high voltage directly across the YBCO chips (due to non-flat surfaces), I'm experimenting again with inducing a supercurrent with a solenoid. But, this time I'm using commercial grade 14 gauge, solid, wire. Preliminary tests showed that my high voltage source can handle up to about 500 volts discharge through a coil made up of this wire, but burns out the opto-isolator above this value. Just ordered 30 new opto-isolator chips. Ten of these opto-isolators, using the same package, have much higher ratings than the ones I was using, and I may be able to directly substitute them. Will also experiment with high voltage diodes to decouple the 'kick-back' from the coil.
23 May 11: Found that every time the capacitors discharged it was necessary to walk over to the high voltage system and manually toggle the optoisolator power switch to start another charging cycle. To solve this, first thought I would need another relay, but discovered I could cure the problem by using the normally-on side of the charging-start/stop relay. This turned out to be a simple solution, requiring only breaking the optoisolator power circuit, and running a twisted pair to the remote receiver board. Also added a kit-built digital voltmeter, eliminating the need for the external analog voltmeter, previously used. Now most of the experiment is a self contained package, operated by a keychain remote, using only two of its four buttons. I think Rube Goldberg would approve. Now the task is to focus on obtaining 1/2 inch to 1 inch YBCO chips that have opposing sides that are flat and parallel, like a coin. The only alternative for good solid electrical contact over the entire surface of both sides, is to machine anodes that match the curvature of the YBCO chips I have on hand, which would be really difficult due to their irregular shape. Uploaded picture of the modifications.
13 May 11: Update: Ran experiment with liquid nitrogen, early this afternoon. On the first run, (for a brief instant), about 2000 amperes at 600 Volts (1.2 Megawatts) was discharged through the chilled superconductor. This resulted in a loud bang and bright flash that lit up the entire basement. Of course the loud bang strongly registered on the accelerometer, masking any hoped for signal. Earlier in the day numerous dry runs were conducted with a large steel nut substituting for the superconductor, and no spark resulted. After this first run the resistance of the superconductor never dropped below 10 ohms. Tried a few more runs after tightening the metal contacts with the superconductor, but still had resistance and sparks. So I suspended further tests. On the next test will go back to the inductive method, avoiding any spark issues. Despite this disappointment, am very happy that there is a local LN2 source, and that I was able to safely transport the LN2 to my home, despite some bumpy areas on the intervening roads. Experiments should occur more frequently now, without the need to drive 150 miles to Cape Cod to run the experiments.
28 April 11: Didn't manage to make the trip to Cape Cod this week to run experiments. But, finally found the original cap for my new dewar, on a shelf in the garage, along with a large piece of foam used to transport the dewar. Already modified the old dewar cap to fit the new dewar, but that will now be for back-up. Purchased a new camera that hopefully will focus better in close-up shots, as all the close-ups have come out blurry. My old camera, damaged on a September, 2010 hike produced much sharper images. With everything in hand I only need to check with the full time lab employees for a suitable time to run the experiments.
23 April 11: Meant to update the site last week, but got busy doing other things. I was completely ready to run experiments, until I discovered I was missing the lid on my dewar. No one would loan me a dewar, so I decided to wait till this coming week to run the experiments. When I returned home I looked high and low for the dewar cap, but couldn't find it. So, I'm modifying the old dewar cap to fit on the new dewar. [17 April 11]: Just completed final wiring on consolidated system package in Cape Cod laboratory. If full time employees give the OK, will conduct experiments Monday or Tuesday. [April 15 Post] April 11: Had some delays, including taxes this week, which I mailed today, that made me decide to put off the experiments till next week. Relatives are putting me up at their Cape Cod home Sunday through Tuesday, so should be able to conduct experiments on either Monday or Tuesday. Will upload a photo soon of the consolidated system, in which the batteries, capacitors, high voltage source, discharge system, and remote control board are all mounted.
Friday 08 April 11: Recieved word that laboratory space is once again available, so will head to Cape Cod next week to resume superconductor experiments after a nine month hiatus, and a seemingly endless winter. Indeed, there are still huge snow banks along many highways, that might last till June. And the bike paths remain covered in frozen snow and ice, once you are in the woods. Am replacing the cumbersome 4 conductor cable between the high voltage circuit board and control box with a garage door remote control, which arrived yesterday in the mail. This eliminates the danger of having nearly 1000 volts accidentally finding its way back to the hand held control box. It also makes the experiment setup easier. Preliminary tests, using a dummy steel target without liquid nitrogen, produced no accelerometer triggering, despite three times the voltage and three times the amperage used in the old experiments.
Sunday 27 March 11:Update: Lab was too busy to allow for my experimental activities. Am presently enquiring of superconductor manufacturers, to see if it's possible to make a one inch, or smaller, YBCO superconductor that has flat/parallel sides, and what it will cost. [March 19 Post]: Have worked out the bugs in the modified, and improved, old system. It is now capable of voltage levels three times higher than the original system, and more than three times the capacitance. The original system operated in the 300 to 320 volt range at 40 mfd. With the modified circuit I was able to discharge upwards of 950 volts at 140 mfd. This week I plan to go ahead with more experiments, even though the bowl shape of the superconductor will cause the supercurrent to converge to a point as current flows in one direction, and visa-versa for current flowing the other direction. I will have to estimate the angle the supercurrent takes and position the detector to intercept the hoped for acceleration signal. An optically flat superconductor, perfectly parallel on both sides is the desired shape. With flat anodes firmly pressed against either side of such a superconductor any acceleration pulse should be parallel across the entire face of the YBCO chip, concentrating the signal.
Monday 07 March 11: Decided to do a proof-of-concept with the old high voltage circuit before completing the new high voltage system. So a new switch was added, along with a 6 V battery pack. Additionally, an optoisolator was wired in to the trigger circuit board (raised PC board in new photo), and other circuit changes implemented. Also uploaded a photo showing about half of my 400 foot driveway in February, after a snowstorm. Yesterday it rained all day, totaling about 3 inches. This beat down the three foot snowpack to less than a foot. With the threat of recurrent snowstorms behind us, travel to the lab on Cape Cod, where experiments are conducted, is now practical. Tomorrow will test the modified old circuit, and if everything works properly will proceed with completion of the new system.
Saturday 19 February 11: The project has, admittedly, been at a near standstill for quite a while. Indeed, it's been hard to motivate myself to accomplish much with the endless snow and cold this winter. But, at last, there are signs of Spring. A week ago yesterday we were treated to a nearly 50 degree day before plunging to below zero the next morning. And three days of this past week were well above normal temperatures. With a break in the snow pattern, I drove the 150 miles to my shared lab space, this past Wednesday, to attend to business unrelated to the project. Had hoped I could stay a few days to do some work on the high voltage system, but the full time employees were very busy, putting lab space at a premium. Nonetheless, the winter torpor is breaking, and the time to come out of hibernation has arrived. Complex circuit re-designs, which seemed impossibly difficult a week ago, now seem trivially simple, and I've begun those modifications.
Tuesday 01 February 11: At last critical items arrived via UPS yesterday, after nearly a two week wait. These were four new tips for my soldering iron to replace my barely usable, corroded tip, and a resistor lead bender; a very handy item. I could have traveled to my laboratory space on Cape Cod to do the work, but with two to three snowstorms every week long distance travel is very hazardous in New England; particularly with 2-wheel drive. Besides I have needed to stay home to take care of clearing my 400 foot driveway of snow, either manually or paying for my contractor. It was snowing when I awoke this morning, and won't stop till Thursday morning, so I'm marooned for several days. Over a foot is expected, adding to the three feet already on the ground. At least it is light, fluffy snow thanks to single digit temps last nite that dropped to 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Last week the temperature in my region dropped to -22 Fahrenheit (-30 C). Cleaned and organized my basement yesterday in preparation for mechanical work on the new high voltage system. As long as the power holds I should be able to make significant progress.
Friday 14 January 11: In the aftermath of Wednesday's blizzard a vast blanket of white powder covers New England, one to two feet deep. Peering out the window as I soldered components into the new high voltage system, the glittering, crystalline powder beckoned, and it was off to Monadnock State Park. Have to say that skiing on this powder was like floating on clouds! With single digit Fahrenheit temps every morning, the snow has remained fresh. Would have mostly finished the new high voltage system a few days ago were it not for the great skiing. New items arrived yesterday and today, delayed in delivery by the snowstorm. These included a 30 volt/5 amp variable power supply, opto-isolators, high voltage diodes, etc. The output of the new system should be between 1000 and 1500 volts. At the low end, this is only 1/2000th of Podkletnov's Impulse Gravity Generator, which reportedly produced 1000 g pulses with about 100 micro-second durations. By simple scaling this could lead to 500 milli-g pulses with 1000 volt discharges. But, undoubtably, other parameters will factor in such as magnetic field strength/direction around the superconductor. So this is probably optimistic. Have a friend coming to snowshoe this weekend, but will put some work into the system tonite.
Thursday 06 January 11: Due to holidays and weather have slowed down on project. Presently duplicating and improving the high voltage system on Radio Shack, general purpose prototype boards. Beyond the oscillator, all components will be beefier with higher overall ratings. The original circuit, assembled on a 25 year old plug-in busboard was prone to corrosion and intermittant contacts. Tested the oscillator last nite, now permanently soldered, and it worked fine. Today will continue work on the new system.
Monday 20 December 10: Newly uploaded photos. Last night tested the new cryostat configuration with high voltage discharges. A 5/16th, stainless steel nut was substituted for the superconductor. There apparently was still a small gap in the conduction path, as a powerful spark issued from the junction between nut and anode when the capacitor banks were discharged through it. Two different capacitor banks were tried - 50 microfarads at 500 volts, and 7500 microfarads at 100 volts. The new 1200 volt SCR, used for switching, handled these discharges with ease. These discharges involved approximately 8 Joules and over 160 Joules, respectively. Later today the output of the accelerometer will be checked to see if these discharges are detected through either mechanical, or electromagnetic, impulses. This test is critical to eliminate false triggering during the actual experiments with a superconductor and liquid nitrogen. The 2nd new photo below, showing the experiment set up on the bench, is for illustration only. In the actual experiment the cryostat and accelerometer module will be positioned on the floor as far as possible from the electronics, while the oscilloscope will also be separated some distance from the high voltage electronics. Shielded cables will connect the different components of the experiment. The cryostat and accelerometer module will be pressed firmly to the tiled, concrete with weights. It was earlier found that mechanical coupling occurred between the cryostat and accelerometer module, during spark discharge. That problem was later eliminated by using the floor as an infinite inertial mass. But, just to be sure this problem doesn't crop up again with higher voltage and energy discharges, the control tests will be repeated.
Monday 13 December 10: It's amazing how your mental and physical energy levels exponentially increase with warmer weather! A massive snowstorm has been battering the Midwest, with subzero cold, but has brought warm, tropical air northward on its eastern side in New England. Yesterday it reached 50 degrees, with heavy rain. Took advantage of the far more comfortable conditions in the basement, and inventoried my stock of electrolytic capacitors, and reworked the recessed fiberglass piece that was unintentionally reamed out on a slanted piece of wood. Now the recessed rim is even all around. Also worked out the charging/discharging times for various arrays of capacitors, with the several high voltage supplies that I now have. The numbers were quite reasonable. I have ten 250 volt/100 uF GE electrolytics. Paralleling two rows of five of these in series would give me 50 uF at 1250 Volts. This is pretty much what I planned to initially aim for. My capacitor supply is scrounged mostly from throwaway stuff at my employer, and may be up to 50 years old, some apparently leaking electrolyte. Will have to test them, and probably buy some new ones.
Friday 10 December 10: The high voltages systems arrived on Tuesday, but I didn't feel too motivated to work in the unheated basement with howling winds all week, combined with single digit temps at nite, and barely out of the 20s in daytime. It was positively shivering in the basement this morning with the outside temp at 1 degree Fahrenheit. It was -12 Fahrenheit in northern NH this morning. Something about these conditions seems to sap my mental concentration. But I did perform less mentally demanding tasks like cleaning up the house, including the basement, and repairing a bench power strip in the frigid cold garage. With the winds abating today I braved the cold basement and reamed out the, ring-shaped, fiberglass piece that holds the superconductor up against the metal backing ring. Now the superconductor snugly recesses into the fiberglass ring. Used a rotary file in the drill press to accomplish this. If I can summon the energy I'll wire up a capacitor bank to the new high voltage systems today. Next week is the earliest testing can take place on Cape Cod, depending on the weather; e.g. snow situation.
Saturday 04 December 10: Drove to Cape Cod lab Thursday to complete mechanical modifications on cryostat. Did final assembly in New Hampshire, after returning yesterday. The only item remaining is the high voltage system, but just ordered two high voltage systems at moderate cost. One provides a 2000 volt output at a steady 10 milliamps, and the other is a variable voltage output from 500 to 5000 volts, at 5 milliamps. I should have ordered these items months ago, as we are getting into the difficult driving season with snow forcast the week after next. Luckily, the supplier is right here in New Hampshire only 35 miles away from me. But, I didn't see any indication of a retail outlet; it appears to be only mail-order. If the items are in stock, they should arrive early next week. Next have to build a switching circuit for discharging the capacitor bank through the cryostat system.
Monday 29 November 10: Have been working slowly on the High Voltage cryostat components ( two new photos below). It has proved to be very tedious work as the fiberglass and aluminum parts are all shaped by hand. The two ring-shaped pieces, one aluminum, the other fiberglass, (with tabs on them), were fabricated by drilling numerous small holes to roughly outline the shape of the parts. Then with a coping saw, and various files, the final outline is completed. Had to take precautions to avoid breathing the very fine fiberglass dust, wearing a face mask and vacuuming as I went along. The superconductor will be sandwiched between these ring-shaped pieces. In retrospect, these pieces could have been done on a waterjet cutter in a matter of minutes, or seconds, once the program was created. Maybe next time. Will keep working on the system till it's ready for testing.
Monday 22 November 10: As usual was way too optimistic on expected time that cryostat modifications would be completed. Last week drove to Cape to machine another aluminum block, while the final machining operations (drilling, tapping, deburring, cleaning) were done over the last few days. And yesterday drove 110 round trip miles to my brother's house to upload a 5 Megabyte file that my dial-up choked on; using up much of the day. A thick, rectangular, fiberglass board was fabricated last week, and another one is under construction today. These will support structures that hold the the superconductor and anode, facing each other sideways. Last week I couldn't figure out a good way to secure the superconducter, while ensuring LN2 circulated around it effectively to properly cool it. Also had to take into account minimal heat transfer out of the LN2 bath. Cogitating on these issues at bedtime, last nite, I actually woke up early this morning with solutions to this, and another mechanical design conundrum. The ultimate objective, of course, is to replicate Podkletnov's Impulse Gravity Generator, but on a much smaller scale, with the same horizontal setup, so detection devices can be positioned at various distances from the cryostat. Also plan to purchase a variable high voltage supply to replace the homemade unit that only goes to 320 volts. Have plenty of electrolytic capacitors on hand, but may purchase more.
Friday 12 November 10: Decided to give priority to new milling machine bench, which took longer than expected. Just before noon today it was completed (photos below). The polyurethane coating was done in several stages, smelling up the basement so bad that my eyes were stinging the following morning. Afterwards did the polyurethaning outside, despite freezing temps overnite. Between the benchwork, traveling, and leaf raking, never even got around to completing the final modifications to the cryostat. The huge areas that I raked were completely covered with leaves again, due to a powerful storm. So, later next week is the tentative target time for performing the high voltage discharge tests between an anode and the superconductor.
Friday 05 November 10: Making major progress on new bench for milling machine. Will be doing some traveling over the next few days, so bench completion will be delayed. Drove to Cape Cod laboratory on Wednesday intending to stay several days to put finishing touches on cryostat work. But, due to a family situation, ended up returning to New Hampshire on the same day. Am expecting to take at least 4 days to complete the cryostat work, as my time is being divided between yard work, the building of a new bench to support a milling machine, and the cryostat. It could take even longer, but the hope is to carry out high voltage discharge tests with LN2 next week at the Cape Cod lab.
Thursday 28 October 10: Uploaded photo of newly fabricated high voltage support frame. 1/2" X 1" X 2" aluminum blocks anchor a stainless steel guide beam and 1/4-20 threaded rod. The middle aluminum block is movable, and can be secured in place via a set screw. The three 6-32 threaded holes on its face are for attaching an elongated fiberglass plate to which either the superconductor, or anode will be secured. The dark coloration of the posts is due to anodizing.
Tuesday 26 October 10: Worked for several hours this morning on the new modular frame for cryostat in my basement workshop. Looking out the window at the gorgeous 60+ degree, sunny day convinced me it was time to take a break; maybe a hike on Mt. Monadnock. Last Friday drove to Cape and milled the support posts for the new modular frame on our company's Bridgeport. Uploaded two pictures of that work in progress. One will be replaced later with the finished modular frame. Have used both this milling machine, and the lathe in the background, on previous projects. Very handy having a machine shop available for specialty items.
Tuesday 19 October 10: Uploaded several new photos last Friday. One of these is of an aluminum frame to which the superconductor and anode will be vertically suspended on plastic beams for minimal heat transfer into the liquid nitrogen. But there were alignment problems owing to the crude construction process without precision machine tools. Last week new material arrived from McMaster-Carr, which will be used in an alternate, simpler, design for the movable superconductor support frame. If our lab area is not busy I'll drive down this week to fabricate the new setup, using precision machine tools. Looked on the internet for hobbyist mills and lathes, and may purchase one of each, to eliminate the need for frequent trips to Cape Cod. Am also toying with having my 300 dollar dewar filled at the local LN2 source, when everything is ready for the next set of experiments. It's risky, but with luck, the filling process might go without a hitch.
Saturday 09 October 10: It was too windy today to go kayaking, so decided to continue metal work on original cryostat modification, even though I've decided on a different design and ordered more metal and plastic stock from McMaster-Carr. The new design uses a single guide bar placed above the threaded rod. In this design there is no need for horizontal beams at each end, and no side bars that might interfere with the pouring of LN2. Since it might be 4 or 5 days for the new stock to arrive, I wanted to see if the original design could be made to function mechanically with the simple tools at my disposal. Quickly discovered that the guide bars needed to be turned down with a file and sandpaper via spinning in the drill press - a crude lathe. The next size up drill bit would have made the fit too sloppy. But it took so long to bring down the diameter of the steel guide bars, that I finally discovered a metric bit was only slightly larger than 1/4 inch, and reamed out all the holes with it. Am almost done, and hope to try it this afternoon. Also replaced photos of tank and San Francisco trip with pictures of messy workshop. It's amazing how complicated a seemingly simple task can turn out to be. Last Tuesday uploaded photos of completed induction coil setup and new frame that will support a superconductor and copper anode facing each other in cryostat. Rotation of the 1/4-20 threaded rod in the frame center, via a wooden knob will adjust the spacing between superconductor and anode. Outer guide rods will maintain the parallel orientation of the superconductor and anode with respect to each other.
Friday 01 October 10: This past Wednesday drove to Cape Cod lab, and gathered plastic and metal stock for new cryostat fixture, that will provide rigid frames to hold the YBCO disc and anode in the vertical position, facing each other. A screw mechanism will permit the spacing between them to be adjusted, right up to actual physical contact. The plan is to discharge a high voltage spark between them to see if phenomena, similar to what was observed in Podkletnov's Impulse Gravity Generator, will occur. The design is essentially finalized. Since the full time employees were quite busy, I returned to New Hampshire the next day, after ordering additional metal stock online to be delivered to my New Hampshire home. Yesterday purchased more small parts at a local hardware for the fixture. None of the fixture's elements will require either a lathe or mill, so all the work can be done at home.
Wednesday 22 September 10: Ended up driving to the Cape last Wednesday, but did a quick turnaround when I discovered that a major project was underway in the lab space that I share. Was told that the last instrument - a towed 'fish', would be shipped out today. So have busied myself with property chores - mowed/trimmed the lawn today. Plus have been kayaking the Tully Dam/Reservoir in Athol, MA, with a beautiful river section, inhabited by Blue Herons. Am now having second thoughts about going down tomorrow as originally planned, as I would like to do more work on the cryostat. Specifically, I need to fabricate a framework to firmly hold both the superconductor and copper anode in the vertical orientation. But it also must allow adjustment of the spacing between them to vary the spark gap for different voltage discharges. Am envisioning a screw-like mechanism, such as I designed and built for tensioning the tracks on my scale model tank. The difficulty will be packaging everything in the rather confined space within and above the cryostat, and still allow the unobstructed pouring of LN2.
Wednesday 15 September 10: All packed and ready to head to Cape Cod. The goal is to finish the cryostat jig wiring, and fabricate a new fixture that fits into the cryostat with the express purpose of testing the system with a voltage pulse sufficient to jump a small gap between the superconductor and target. The object is to raise the acceleration pulse to a level that is unmistakably above the system's noise level. Since the electromagnetic pulse will be significantly larger than in previous experiments additional steps will have to be taken to avoid false triggering of the oscilliscope.
Monday 13 September 10: Am still recovering from Saturday's brutal, nearly 12 mile hike over Old Speck (4180 feet) and three or four other peaks over 3600 feet, before going through Mahoosuc Notch, and the remaining 3 and 1/2 miles to our other car. Due to these added peaks, I believe our total ascent was more like 5000 feet than 2700. What my friend Peter and I didn't know was that Mahoosuc Notch is notoriously known "as the worst mile of the Appalachian Trail". We soon found out. There is no trail per se. It's a mile long jumble of house sized to VW sized boulders that you have to jump from rock pinnacle to pinnacle, crawl beneath 1000 ton boulders, and over others. To say it was exhausting is an understatement. We were both experiencing leg cramps before we even reached Speck Pond shelter. All the people we met coming out of the notch, most in thier 20s, testified to its difficulty, and that they took 2 hours to traverse it. With only four hours to nightfall, and temperature already dropping, Peter and I entered the Notch knowing we had to traverse it, and the 3 and 1/2 miles beyond before dark. I didn't bring enough water, so I relied on Peter's supply, just enough to avoid serious dehydration. This was the first time in my life that enough water became critical for survival. Had we been stuck in the Notch we potentially could have succumbed to hypothermia. Thankfully, we made it through, with daylight to spare.
Friday 10 September 10: Here I go again delaying a planned trip to my Cape lab. Earlier this week a friend notified me of a plan to hike Old Speck in Maine via an 11 mile route, with 2700 feet of ascent. As a younger man this would be a piece of cake (at age 43 hiked 30 miles in Yosemite with 8000 feet of ascent). But being in my mid 60s I decided to hang out in New Hampshire to be fully rested for tomorrow's hike. Posted pictures of assembled cryostat, basement drill press bench used for cryostat work, 1/12th scale scratch built tank, and standing in Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, late 80s, when exploring city with friends. We hiked 25 miles that day. Much of the tank work was done with a hacksaw and file, but also used mills, lathes, and drill presses. Used a bending brake for the 16 gage steel chassis bottom, but the welding was done by others. The tank is 20 inches long and 10 inches high, and weighs 40 pounds with batteries, and boasts torsion bar suspension for all 12 road wheels. There are 56 links in each track, which are driven by separate geared electric motors. The tracks incorporate about 1200 individual components, screws, link bars, cleats, plates; everything but the screws fabricated with hand tools and mills. The red rust color of the lower steel hull is somewhat exaggerated by the camera, but nonetheless needs to be sandblasted and coated with rust inhibiting primer soon. Still need to fabricate hatches for turret, sandblast and paint entire tank.
Thursday 02 September 10: Yesterday finished mechanical modification work on cryostat at New Hampshire home, but will not drive to Cape till after Hurricane Earl passes on Saturday morning. Replaced kayaking photos with photos of modified cryostat; one on newly stained back deck. Still have to wire up second modular channel, that will be used to monitor Tc. That work will be done at my Cape lab. Unbelievably hot in New Hampshire, about 95 in the shade, and 100 in my computer room. Looking forward to Fall.
Saturday 28 August 10: Have put superconductor work on backburner for almost two weeks while attending to long neglected property chores - staining decks, mowing/trimming a one acre yard, etc. Did manage to mostly finish another modular plug arrangement for monitoring Tc, that will simplify switching from one experimental fixture to another. This coming week plan to head to Cape to conduct more experiments with the new setup.
Tuesday 17 August 10: Modified cryostat wiring to a modular configuration, for ease of changing in and out different experiment fixtures. Yesterday: Wired in socket to accept 1600 Volt/70 Amp 70TPS16 thyristors. Will begin fabricating fixture today to allow discharge of 1000-1500 volts from superconductor to anode, using a capacitor bank. The hope is to generate an even more robust acceleration pulse than has, apparently, been obtained in earlier experiments.
Tuesday 10 August 10: Did three series of tests with liquid nitrogen (LN2) yesterday, with about 30 discharges from the 40 mfd capacitor into the solenoid at the 160 volt level. The lower voltage was necessary as the BT-145 thyristors were burning out with only three discharges each. Went through a dozen BT-145s. Didn't have time to wire in the socket for the more robust thyristors, recently purchased, when the LN2 bacame available at 10:45 AM. Again triggering was observed with the YBCO chip in the superconductive state, but not after transitioning to the non-superconducting state. Was surprised that no special precautions were taken by the person who filled my new flask with LN2. I had assumed tempering of the inner borosilicate lining was necessary. Plan to go back to direct voltage discharge through the YBCO chip, rather than inducing a supercurrent with a solenoid. Also more elaborate experiments are planned, with other equipment, to determine the magnitude and duration of the pulses triggering the accelerometer.
Sunday 08 August 10: All packed and ready to head for Cape Cod this morning, and hopefully do some experiments. Last week's trip was aborted, when my brother sustained a running injury, and he and his wife had to return to the Boston area for a CAT scan. I was going to stay with them, at their Cape home, and do experiments in my lab. In the meantime, fretting over the possibility of having my, brand new, expensive dewar turned to scrap, at the local LN2 filling station, I've been kayaking local rivers and lakes. Just yesterday kayaked Lake Sunapee, in absolutely perfect conditions. Have got to buy a helmet cam, so I can show my relatives the beautiful scenery of this crystal clear lake, and surrounding mountains.
Thursday 29 July 10: The new dewar arrived earlier this week, but at 300 dollars, or three times the cost of the old one, I've been reluctant to have it filled at the place where the other one shattered. This one is clad in stainless steel, but still has borosilicate glass for the inside lining. Would have gone to the Cape this week, but had to stick around for a closing on a house I jointly owned. Plan to head down to the Cape Tuesday, after a Monday meeting in NH, and will carefully record the proper procedure for filling the dewar. This info will be passed on to the New Hampshire LN2 source. My lab space on the Cape is now shared with four other people, so space is at a premium. Several of them may finish up their projects before summer ends. With any luck experiments can proceed in New Hampshire, in the meantime, when the dewar filling problem is solved.
Friday 16 July 10: The good news is that I found a liquid nitrogen source near my New Hampshire home. The bad news is I neglected to tell them my dewar was made of glass, and it shattered as it was being filled with LN2. Ordered a stainless steel dewar today, which should arrive next week. New electronic parts have arrived at my lab on the Cape, so I'll retrieve them early next week, and return to New Hampshire to conduct experiments with the new dewar. With access to machine shops on the Cape, I will now only need to drive down there for fabrication of new jigs, or major modification of old ones. Am thinking of returning to the simpler strategy of current discharge from the capacitor bank directly through the superconductor. This will require solving the contact problem for the concave/convex shaped SC disc, which I have some ideas on.
Wednesday 07 July 10: First LN2 test aborted after I assumed the 6A10 'kickback' diode, (rated max. surge of 400 amps/1000 volts), had burned out. Turns out that the 40TPS12A thyristor had failed, while the diode checked out OK. Replaced thyristor and diode with heavier models - CS3514I04 and 70HF120, respectively. Conducted second experiment 8 hours after originally obtaining LN2 (was plesantly surprised at its longevity in dewar). But, to my disappointment this new 27 dollar thyristor also failed, at only 250 volts. In the two runs that were made, before component failure, no anomalous triggering was observed. Part of the problem may be the incredible humidty we are having on the east coast, which showed up as a thick layer of frost on the YBCO chip and condensation all over the cryostat - way more than in previous tests. Plus, I never verified that the superconductive state was achieved, as I lost the small cubic, rare-earth magnet, previously used for that purpose. Will wrap conductive foil around opposing arms of the SC support structure, and solder wires to the contact pads beneath these to monitor Tc. Yesterday, in 'dry' tests, discharged 7500 mfd capacitor bank, (charged to 80 volts), numerous times, without damaging the less robust 40TPS12A thyristor and 6A10 diode. From this it is clear that extreme voltage spikes are the issue, not excessive power dissipation.
Thursday 01 July 10: Plan to head to Cape on Monday to run experiments. Couldn't line up any LN2 last week, unfortunately, for experiments. Will email ahead of time on LN2 before heading down. Two new photos uploaded.
Saturday 12 June 10: Conducted many 'dry' tests without liquid nitrogen using heavy duty diodes, from my personal supply at home, to dissipate the inductive kickback from the coil (the diode from our lab stock, used in the previous series of experiments, finally bit the dust). Most were not labeled, so their ratings were unknown. Virtually all of them burned out including one placed in series with the thyristor's output as added protection. After burning out 5 one dollar thyristors, realized I was running around in circles and packed up the experiment. Looked up the types of SCRs and diodes used in coil guns, and plan to order them tonite, so they'll arrive at my Cape Cod laboratory, when I drive down next week. This experiment is functionally the same as a coil gun, minus the projectile. Actually looked at many coil gun sites weeks ago, but hoped what I had on hand would be sufficient, by ganging several diodes together and several thyristors together. Having more robust single components eliminates complications associated with multiple current pathways.
Wednesday 26 May 10: Once again have detected apparent acceleration pulses when a supercurrent is initiated, or enhanced, but this time via the magnetic induction method. The pulse is very subtle, either extremely brief, and/or near the noise level of the accelerometer's output, as it was not visually observed, so certainly can't be considered difinitive proof of anomalous phenomena. Superconductivity was checked by the Meissner effect. In this series of experiments the accelerometer is oriented in the tangential plane, as was the case for the Austrian Research Center's experiments, except that their supercurrent was mechanically accelerated. With evaporation of LN2, and loss of superconductivity (checked by Meissner effect), the acceleration pulse disappears. Next will increase magnetic field strength by wiring in a larger capacitor. Have been reading Frederic N. Rounds experimental report from 1997 where he detected from .05% - .10% weight reduction of 10 to 27 gram targets made of rubber and brass. The raw data from his experiment seems to depict a momentary drop in weight of the test sample at the Tc transition - consistent with an acceleration pulse. This was also observed my Martin Tajmar's group at the Austrian Research Center.
Friday 14 May 10: Finished custom made solenoid yesterday afternoon (photos below), which was hand wound with 200 turns of 22 gauge magnet wire on a 32 millimeter diameter fiberglass tube, 12 millimeters long. The plastic, cross-shaped stucture inside coil frame is to elevate superconductor into middle of solenoid, where field is strongest. Plastic screw attached to aluminum bar is to hold superconductor firmly in place when magnetic pulse is applied. Have other activities planned today, but may be able to squeeze in the time to conduct test, otherwise will do next week.
Friday 07 May 10: Drove the 150 miles yesterday from New Hampshire home to my workshop/laboratory on Cape Cod. Temporarily used coil of 20 gauge wire as simulated load for inductor with 340 volt source. Wanted to be sure the BT-145 thyristor didn't burn out due to load inductance. However, kick-back from coil burned out several BT-145s. A reverse bias diode across the coil solved problem until I exceeded the diode's rating. Coil gun systems do exactly what I'm doing, and are a handy reference for suitable electronic items. New photo (bottom left) shows inductor cylinder epoxied a few minutes earlier to its base, 10,000 volt Jacob's Ladder, and temporary inductor test set-up.
Friday 30 April 10: Began fabrication of induction coil assembly yesterday, and did a little more work this morning. (pictures below). When the capacitor bank is discharged through the coil, the rapidly expanding, vertical magnetic field lines (converging towards the SC's center) should induce a circulating current. Since the electrons will be accelerated in the tangential (horizontal) plane of the SC, the accelerometer must be detached from its mount, and placed in a horizontal orientation alongside the cryostat. Copper contacts for SC support will allow resistance monitoring of SC, as well as zapping it with high voltage across its width in separate experiments.
Friday 23 April 10: Replacement superconductors (SCs) arrived Wednesday, and drove the 150 miles to my laboratory the following day. As with the previous SCs, these are warped such that they are concave on one side, convex on the other side. Have some ideas how to achieve electrical contact over the entire surfaces, without permanent bonding to the SC. Will do this work next week.
Sunday 18 April 10: Last week applied silver epoxy to both sides of my only other superconductor, which evidently ruined it, as resistance never fell below 2 ohms. Just ordered two new superconductors from another supplier, as my old source seemed to have gone out of business. These should arrive this week.
Thursday 8 April 10: Have been busy all week cleaning up my 3 acre property, so have put superconductor work on hold until next Monday. Last week rough sanded both sides of one, of my two, YBCO chips, to make them flat and parallel. But mechanically working the chip ruined its superconductive property, as it never fell below 75 ohms resistance in the LN2 bath. A batch of silver epoxy arrived yesterday, which will be used to bind my other YBCO chip to the copper anodes. This should resolve the issue of making electrical contact across the entire surface of the YBCO chip.
Tuesday 30 March 10: Uploaded three new photos. Determined voltage discharge not source of scope triggering. Will do LN2 test tomorrow, as torrential rains make quarter mile round-trip walk to retrieve LN2 impracticable. That test should confirm or refute whether LN2 expansion during 320 volt discharge through YBCO chip is trigger source. Discovered what I thought was noise in the scope display, was actually the genuine output of the accelerometer.
Friday 26 March 10: A pulse consistently triggered my somewhat antiquated Phillips PM3214 oscilloscope each time the capacitor discharged through the chilled superconductor. The amplitude and duration of these trigger pulses from the accelerometer are now impossible to discern due to a sudden jump in the scope's white noise, that started when I rotated the vertical calibration knob on Tuesday. It affects both channels. On a few occasions a visible spike coincided with the ~ 260 volts discharge through the YBCO chip from the 40 mfd capacitor. It was about 20% above the noise, corresponding to ~ 10 milli-g's of acceleration, assuming it was a genuine signal. Of course it's extraordinary if it's a real signal, being 100 times larger than the Austrian Research Center's results, but in the ballpark of Podkletnov's earlier spinning disc experiments ~ 1% of g. Sudden expansion of the LN2, setting up a pressure wave that the accelerometer picked up, could have been the cause of triggering (but no sound was audible). Will borrow a better scope next week to see if triggering occurs when the superconductor is moved to different locations and replaced by dummy aluminum plug. Would have done these simple checks yesterday, but was tired from lack of sleep, and decided to wait till next week.
Thursday 25 March 10: Everything set to proceed with the first full-up experiment using liquid nitrogen later this morning, after numerous delays stretching into months. Dewar cleaned and tempered, and safety suit assembled. Actually pumped high voltage into YBCO superconductor at room temperature yesterday, which generated a sparking action, due to the small resistance of the superconductor and circuit design.
Monday 22 February 10: At last completed 2 month long project for employer, involving nearly 2000 D-cells soldered together in almost 100 packs, that were then wrapped in duct tape. These power underwater equipment. Went through several pounds of solder, with the inherent danger of lead absorption via the aerosol route (wore mask). Now with lab space available again, it's back to superconductor research. The ADXL accelerometer, with its two op-amp gain stages, has a pesky oscillation due to feedback, somewhere in the circuit (visible in scope photo). Once this is corrected the experiments can proceed, as everything is ready.
Friday 29 January 10: Had a rather exhausting work week, so didn't do planned experiments. Am closing in on finish line for regular work, which should be completed by end of next week, then back on to superconductor research. Downloaded photo (below) of modified accelerometer structure, with cantilevered design. This way it can project out over table edge with cryostat on floor (aligned with plumb bob).
Friday 15 January 10: Remote switching cicuit completed 2 weeks ago, but have been busy with regular work for employer, as will be the case for about another month. Next week plan to perform experiments in evening, everything ready to go. New photo below of remote control box. Uploaded 5 new photos, and will post one of structurally modified accelerometer module next week.