Experiment 08 (24/04/02)- Zinc vs Aluminium lifter

Engineer Xavier Borg - Blaze Labs Research

In this experiment, two lifter elements are mounted opposite to each other perfectly balanced on the centre pivoting point. The aim of the experiment is to check for the pressure / thrust difference obtained from two different conductive foils. Since each lifter is acting against the other, the one with the highest thrust will result in a rotation about the fulcrum.

zinc-alu lifter
Zinc - Aluminium Lifter experiment

The left lifter element is a normal aluminium foil element coated with 2 coats of 99% pure zinc spray on each side. The right lifter element is made of aluminium foil only. The weight of the zinc coated element is 5g, and that of the aluminium was barely 1g, so additional weights (~4g) had to be taped to the lower part of the aluminium foil lifter, in order to move the equilibrium point exactly over the centre pivoting point.

Zinc-Aluminium lifter video 1
Click here to view video of this experiment - Zinc-Aluminium lifter - balanced

(File size 828Kb)

As soon as the hv is switched on, a clockwise moment is generated, clearly indicating that the zinc coated lifter is creating more thrust than the aluminium one.

Zinc-Aluminium lifter video 2
Click here to view video of this experiment - Zinc-Aluminium lifter - offset

(File size 775Kb)

In this second test, the pivoting point is purposely moved to the right, so that the lifter obtains equilibrium when the clockwise and anticlockwise moments are equal. Perfect equilibrium is obtained at distances of 14.2 cm and 15.8 cm. Working out moments at equilibrium shows that the thrust of the Zinc lifter is 11% greater than the thrust of the Aluminium lifter. Voltage across elements was 20 kV.

Interesting data

Result confirmation by Mr. Willy Guns

Result confirmation by Mr. Jean-Louis Naudin, with Copper, Brass, Aluminium


  1. The target material definetely shows an effect on thrust.
  2. The heavier the material, the greater the thrust (+11% at 20 kV for Zn vs Al).
  3. The 'best' material is not necessarily the most electrically conductive one.
  4. It is NOT a skin effect. Different thickness of the same material produces different thrust.
  5. Thrust difference may be due to the difference in surface finish, Zn was rougher than Al.
  6. Thrust efficiency is related to internal lattice arrangement of the collector.
  7. Greater difference between self capacities of wire and foil, greater grad E, greater lift.

Point 7 is a key factor to obtain further thrust and efficiencies, and the simulations shown below mathematically prove a higher ion momentum corresponding to higher charge capacity of the lower foil. Note that in both cases, the simulation has been stopped at 1.02 ms. This shows that a slight increase in foil self capacitance will result in a direct increase in thrust.

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