Experimental investigation of employing asymmetrical electrodes in propulsion of vehicles

George Matsoukas, N. A. Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Asymmetrical electrodes under high voltage which are separated by a dielectric material experience thrust towards the smaller electrode. This system of propulsion is innovative and has several unique features that distinguish it from conventional methods of propulsion. One such advantage of this phenomenon is that the electrical energy is directly converted into a mechanical force without the requirement of any moving components. However, the flow physics associated with the thrust produced on the asymmetrical electrodes is quite complex and not yet fully understood. An experimental investigation at the University of New South Wales Aerodynamics Laboratory was conducted on model asymmetrical electrodes in order to investigate its possible use in the propulsion of vehicles. A simple experimental model frame was constructed using lightweight balsa wood and asymmetrical electrodes composing of foil and wire. High DC voltage in the range of 10-35 kilo volts was used in the experiments. The results were very encouraging and thrust was observed. Further experiments involved altering parameters such as, the electrode geometry and configuration, the dielectric material and the pulsing of voltage input. When these changes were implemented, it was shown that a greater thrust was obtained. This suggests that the concept has real potential for practical application and that higher thrust may be possible with the same energy input which could pave the way for an efficient propulsion system of future vehicles with minimal energy requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-253
Number of pages7
JournalProcedia Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventEvolving Energy-International Energy Foundation International Energy Congress, IEF-IEC 2012 - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Duration: 1 Sept 20121 Sept 2012


  • Asymmetrical capacitor
  • Electric propulsion
  • Electrode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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