## Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Discussions on classical and modern physics, quantum mechanics, particle physics, thermodynamics, general and special relativity, etc.

### Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Mike McCulloch at Plymouth University in the U.K. has just published a paper on ArXiv that has drawn interest from MIT Technology Review: "The Curious Link Between the Fly-By Anomaly and the “Impossible” EmDrive Thruster"[1] (The paper is linked to at the end of the article). McCulloch makes a number of controversial claims, but I think his idea on quantised inertia as an explanation of the EmDrive's 'anomalous' thrust is a very interesting connection.

In a nutshell, he postulates that inertia is an imbalance in the Unruh radiation[2] caused by the different distances to the Rindler horizon[3] forming behind an accelerating body and the Hubble horizon[4] around it. Only Unruh radiation with half-wavelengths equal to one of these distances (or harmonics thereof) is allowed, due to the 'one-way' nature of these horizons. This, he reckons, causes a wave pressure on the front of any accelerating object, which we observe as inertia (resistance to change in motion).

Since the Rindler horizon tends to infinity for negligible acceleration, there must be a certain minimum acceleration that can exist - when the Rindler horizon equals the Hubble horizon. Hence acceleration must be quantised and for every object, there must be a minimum inertia (or momentum) that is allowed. Acceleration can be zero, but then it must jump to this minimum quantum, where the Rindler horizon equals the Hubble horizon.

McCulloch then postulates that the tiny anomalous (unexplained) boost in speed that some unbound probes get during Earth fly-by maneuvers originates from this quantised jump when they go through the point of zero transverse acceleration (i.e. changing from positive to negative transverse acceleration). This is probably controversial because there is no proper acceleration in the probe's reference frame, as would be measurable by an accelerometer. But in defense, there is an exchange of momentum between Earth and the probe relative to the Sun, so that total momentum is conserved. He shows some curious agreements between his calculations and the observed anomalies.

McCulloch further conceptually relates this to the different wavelengths of standing waves that can exist inside a truncated cone when microwaves are injected into it and it undergoes a quantum of acceleration. He reckons this results in an imbalanced inertia (or momentum) of the photons, with the 'anomalous' EmDrive acceleration serving to balance the momentum. He further explains this as photons that accelerates somewhat in the wider end of the truncated cone and then decelerates towards the narrower end. He equates this "acceleration of photons" with a slight gain in "photon mass", which is of course very controversial.

Few scientists would buy his "photons that accelerate and gain mass" idea, but we know that a photon carries momentum proportional to frequency, so it could perhaps just be a frequency change. We also know that in any accelerated frame of reference, the observed speed of light is not 'c'. It is only 'c' if measured in a momentarily co-moving inertial observer's frame. So both of these claims may be just alternative interpretations of standard physics, perhaps expressed in imprecise language, scientifically speaking.

Nevertheless, his calculations again agree to the order of magnitude of thrust measured in EmDrive tests in many labs, including NASA. Maybe McCulloch is onto something.

Enjoy!

--oo0oo--

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unruh_effect

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rindler_coordinates#The_Rindler_horizon

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_volume
Last edited by BurtJordaan on May 2nd, 2016, 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typos

BurtJordaan
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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Technology Review wrote:According to McCulloch, inertia is simply the pressure the Unruh radiation exerts on an accelerating body.

That’s hard to test at the accelerations we normally observe on Earth. But things get interesting when the accelerations involved are smaller and the wavelength of Unruh radiation gets larger.

At very small accelerations, the wavelengths become so large they can no longer fit in the observable universe. When this happens, inertia can take only certain whole-wavelength values and so jumps from one value to the next. In other words, inertia must be quantized at small accelerations.
I find it interesting to see that, in that theory, the term inertia is used instead of the term mass, and that working against light is used to explain it. My small steps' mechanism is also about mass and inertia, and it is also about working against light. On the other hand, again, the link between mass and inertial motion is absent, and the effect at the atoms' scale also. Another interesting point for me is that inertia is quantized: with the steps, inertia is quantized at any acceleration, and it is still quantized at rest since the constancy of inertial motion depends on their own frequency constancy.

McCulloch says there is observational evidence for this in the form of the famous fly by anomalies. These are the strange jumps in momentum observed in some spacecraft as they fly past Earth toward other planets. That’s exactly what his theory predicts.
We had a discussion about the three body problem where I was proposing to replace the action of the tides on the rotation of planets by the imbrication of orbital motions. Do you know if fly by anomalies have been observed with planets or moons?

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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Very helpful, I want to read all the links before asking questions. I have been rather skeptical of the EmDrive, that it might "run" on vacuum leaks and/or other experimental glitches. Seems similar to Hawking radiation, in some respects.

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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Inchworm, I do not quite follow your reasoning, but for this thread, let us stick to digesting McCulloch's theory. It is not quite mainstream, but at least it is a published theory and we can expect the professionals to comment on it.

AFAIK, the fly-by anomaly has only been observed during Earth gravity assists, possibly because it is too small to be detectable at the distances during Venus, Mars, Jupiter, etc. gravity assists.

I must say that I'm skeptical about some of his claims, e.g the dark matter/dark energy ones. Those stars/galaxies/clusters are all inertial and are not supposed to 'see' Unruh radiation. Theoretically, this should only happen when proper acceleration is present.

BurtJordaan
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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Sorry, I'll wait till the discussion seems to be finished.

Inchworm
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### Re: Liberating

Nice summary Jorrie.

I'm impressed by how many different coordinate systems were mentioned in the articles. I feel much less intimidated about Times Square (T2) now. Lightlike coordinates seem almost a trivial tweak.

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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Hi all,

Without going into (personal) explanations but merely proposing a prediction.. that if the EmDrive were mounted vertically rather than horizontally, a big difference will be noted. 2nd, if the cone length was much much longer (like 50 feet), in the vertical direction of course, an even more significant EmDrive force would be measured.

Regards,

Dave :^)

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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Hi Dave_O, I think McCulloch disagrees with you on both counts.

Firstly, it apparently works only when the acceleration is small, so vertical destroys its usefulness.

Secondly, since the microwaves must resonate in the cone with a high Q, an arbitrary length cannot be used. If McCulloch is right, there is an optimum length to front/rear width.

I find it interesting that the angle of most respondents so far was: how does this fit my own personal theory? :)

Nothing wrong with that, just an observation.

BurtJordaan
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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Understanding is about motion, thus about direction and speed, which as we know, are relative. Since there is no way to be in others' head, there is thus unfortunately no other way either to understand others' viewpoint than to consider that we are the reference. How then are we be able to change ideas with time is a good question to me, but how could I know if it is good to others? :^)

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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Just as a calibration point, the fly-by anomaly is not quite unexplained. Back in 2009 a French astrophysicist, Jean Mbelek put a paper on Arxiv (https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.1888.pdf) that used standard SR to explain the anomaly.

In brief, he found that the NASA tracking algorithms apparently neglected a very small additional "transverse Doppler effect" due to the fact that the receiver was moving relative to the Earth-centered inertial reference frame as Earth rotated. When he took the published data on the cases where the anomaly was observed and applied that small component, the anomaly all but disappeared for the cases studied.

I have not seen any comments on this from NASA or JPL, but AFAIK, there was nothing against it coming from the scientific community. So one must assume that Mbelek's calculations were sound. Maybe JPL has quietly corrected the algorithm?

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### Re: Quantised Inertia and the EmDrive

Hi all,

Well, it seems this thread has run its course, so I'll quickly offer an opinion. I believe they have probably created the first primitive Gravity Drive. The effect that's created inside the Microwave chamber artificially produces a gradient field that acts on Matter in the same way that real Gravity does. It imbues said exposed Matter to take on the Geometry of Acceleration. The Acceleration effect comes from the exposed inside surface of the tube currently and the effect is probably very shallow..

That's why I suggested they try a longer tube (adjusting for frequency bouncing phase effects of course).

In addition, which is counter intuitive, if they added some extra matter inside the tube, being careful not to disrupt the Microwave field, then such matter would add to the Acceleration Effect. I would suggest Glass Rods running from the Big plate to Small plate.. or something to that effect. To improve the performance of a Gravity Drive, one must add more Matter being exposed to the artificial Gravity Gradient Field being generated. IMHO...

Regards,
Dave :^)

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