The True Meaning of Wireless Transmission of Power

Toby Grotz

Reprinted from Tesla: A Journal of Modern Science, 1997 Abstract

Many researchers have speculated on the meaning of the phrase "non-Hertzian waves" as used by Dr. Nikola Tesla.1 Dr. Tesla first began to use this term in the mid 1890's in order to explain his proposed system for the wireless transmission of electrical power. In fact, it was not until the distinction between the method that Heinrich Hertz was using and the system Dr. Tesla had designed, that Dr. Tesla was able to receive the endorsement of the renowned physicist, Lord Kelvin.[l] To this day, however, there exists a confusion amongst researchers, experimentalists, popular authors and laymen as to the meaning of non-Hertzian waves and the method Dr. Tesla was promoting for the wireless transmission of power. In this paper, the terms pertinent to wireless transmission of power will be explained and the methods being used by present researchers in a recreation of the Tesla's 1899 Colorado Springs experiments will be defined.

Early Theories of Electromagnetic Propagation

In pre-World War I physics, scientists postulated a number of theories to explain the propagation of electromagnetic energy through the ether. There were three popular theories present in the literature of the late 1800's and early 1900's. They were:

1. Transmission through or along the Earth,

2. Propagation as a result of terrestrial resonances,

3. Coupling to the ionosphere using propagation through electrified gases.

We shall concern our examination at this time to the latter two theories as they were both used by Dr. Tesla at various times to explain his system of wireless transmission of power. It should be noted, however, that the first theory was supported by Fritz Lowenstein, the first vice-president of the Institute of Radio Engineers, a man who had the enviable experience of assisting Dr. Tesla during the Colorado Springs experiments of 1899. Lowenstein presented what came to be known as the "gliding wave" theory of electromagnetic radiation and propagation during a lecture before the IRE in 1915. (Fig. 1)

Dr. Tesla delivered lectures to the Franklin Institute at Philadelphia, in February, 1983, and to the National Electric Light Association in St. Louis, in March, 1983, concerning electromagnetic wave propagation. The theory presented in those lectures proposed that the Earth could be considered as a conducting sphere and that it could support a large electrical

1 An honorary doctorate degree, was awarded Nikola Tesla in June, 1894 from Columbia College in the City of New York (Source: Columbia University Archives) - Ed. note.

charge. Dr. Tesla proposed to disturb the charge distribution on the surface of the Earth and record the period of the resulting oscillations as the charge returned to its state of equilibrium. The problem of a single charged sphere had been analyzed at that time by J. J. Thompson and A.G. Webster in a treatise entitled "The Spherical Oscillator." This was the beginning of an examination of what we may call the science of terrestrial resonances, culminating in the 1950's and 60's with the engineering of VLF radio systems and the research and discoveries of W.O. Schumann and J.R. Waite.

Fritz Lowenstein

Sketch used by Fritz Lowenstein in his 1915 IRE lecture to explain the mechanism of radiation and propagation for radio waves. "...Q [is] the charge in the antenna and... q the electric charge of each half wave length gliding along the earth..." Even Zenneck was prepared to accept Lowenstein's explanation. Lowenstein believed that charge q was detached from the antenna and floated off along the ground as a "gliding wave."s

— Tesla Primer and Handbook, Chapter 2.

The second method of energy propagation proposed by Dr. Tesla was that of the propagation of electrical energy through electrified gases. Dr. Tesla experimented with the use of high frequency RF currents to examine the properties of gases over a wide range of pressures. It was determined by Dr. Tesla that air under a partial vacuum could conduct high frequency electrical currents as well or better than copper wires. If a transmitter could be elevated to a level where the air pressure was on the order of 75 to 130 millimeters in pressure and an excitation of megavolts was applied, it was theorized that; "...the air will serve as a conductor for the current produced, and the latter will be transmitted through the air with, it may be, even less resistance than through an ordinary copper wire". (Fig. 2)

Figure 2

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Figure 2

Resonating Planet Earth

Dr. James T. Corum and Kenneth L. Corum, in Chapter 2 of their book, A Tesla Primer, point out a number of statements made by Dr. Tesla which indicate that he was losing resonator fields and transmission line modes.

1. When he speaks of tuning his apparatus until Hertzian radiations have been eliminated, he is referring to using ELF vibrations: "...the Hertzian effect has gradually been reduced through the lowering of frequency." [3]

2. "...the energy received does not diminish with the square of the distance, as it should, since the Hertzian radiation propagates in a hemisphere."[3]

3. He apparently detected resonator or standing wave modes: " discovery of the wonderful law governing the movement of electricity through the globe...the projection of the wavelengths (measured along the surface) on the earth's diameter or axis of symmetry... are all equal."[3]

4. "We are living on a conducting globe surrounded by a thin layer of insulating air, above which is a rarefied and conducting atmosphere... The Hertz waves represent energy which is radiated and unrecoverable. The current energy, on the other hand, is preserved and can be recovered, theoretically at least, in its entirety. "[4]

As Dr. Corum points out, "The last sentence seems to indicate that Tesla's Colorado Springs experiments could be properly interpreted as characteristic of a wave-guide probe in a cavity resonator. "[5] This was in fact what led Dr. Tesla to report a measurement which to this day is not understood and has led many to erroneously assume that he was dealing with faster than light velocities.

Wireless Power Transmission

The controversial Measurement

The mathematical models and experimental data used by Schumann and Waite to describe ELF transmission and propagation are complex and beyond the scope of this paper. Dr. James F. Corum, Kenneth L. Corum and Dr. A-Hamid Aidinejad have, however, in a series of papers presented at the 1984 Tesla Centennial Symposium and the 1986 International Tesla Symposium, applied the experimental values obtained by Dr. Tesla during his Colorado Springs experiments to the models and equations used by Schumann and Waite. The results of this exercise have proved that the Earth and the surrounding atmosphere can be used as a cavity resonator for the wireless transmission of electrical power. (Fig. 3) Dr. Tesla reported that 0.08484 seconds was the time that a pulse emitted from his laboratory took to propagate to the opposite side of the planet and to return. From this statement many have assumed that his transmissions exceeded the speed of light and many esoteric and fallacious theories and publications have been generated. As Corum and Aidinejad point out, in their 1986 paper, "The Transient Propagation of ELF Pulses in the Earth Ionosphere Cavity", this measurement represents the coherence time of the Earth cavity resonator system. This is also known to students of radar systems as a determination of the range dependent parameter. The accompanying diagrams from Corum's and Aidinejad's paper graphically illustrate the point. (Fig. 4 & Fig. 5)

Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

It seems like the efforts to find the best alternative energy sources are seriously being looked into by lots of countries including most US cities. One proof is the signing of the Kyoto Treaty. The main aim of the concerned group and individuals is to lessen the greenhouse gases and pollutants.

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