My Math Forum Lightning Rocket Fuel

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 April 19th, 2015, 08:09 AM #1 Senior Member   Joined: Mar 2015 From: England Posts: 201 Thanks: 5 Lightning Rocket Fuel In space Hydrogen fuel is burned and propels the space ship forward in the direction it's facing. Newton's third law of motion states that for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. A lightning bolt makes around Five Billion Joules of energy. I can't find specific numbers for Hydrogen fuel burning right now but I think it would be less. Apart from the safety hazard to other rockets, satellites and earth, what do you think?
 April 19th, 2015, 08:53 AM #2 Global Moderator     Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC -5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms How do you 'store' the lightning bolt?
April 19th, 2015, 12:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by HawkI In space Hydrogen fuel is burned and propels the space ship forward in the direction it's facing. Newton's third law of motion states that for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. A lightning bolt makes around Five Billion Joules of energy. I can't find specific numbers for Hydrogen fuel burning right now but I think it would be less. Apart from the safety hazard to other rockets, satellites and earth, what do you think?
Burning hydrogen produces an "explosion" that is directed out the back of the craft.

Lightning would have to be used as some kind of electron plasma, which can be channeled out the back as well. It's called an ion thruster.

Of course, as CRGreathouse mentions: How would you store such a thing for use? I suspect the biggest capacitor we've ever made would fall rather short of taking on that size of charge.

-Dan

Last edited by topsquark; April 19th, 2015 at 01:12 PM.

 April 20th, 2015, 11:55 AM #4 Senior Member   Joined: Mar 2015 From: England Posts: 201 Thanks: 5 Ok so I posed this question on the Physics forum and they mentioned that Lightning would not have much Directional thrust to it. After posting around a lot I have come to learn some things about forums, when people say critical thought they are referring to criticism (not importance) and people are not there to help you they're there to challenge you. I also learnt that forums are really into numbers and evidence. I would go about storing a bolt of lightning by having a sort of Graphene Tesla Coil. There seems to be this trend that new comers who don't have formal training in a subject are misguided when they have a new idea or possible clue. I personally think that's because people don't want to admit that every field of knowledge will one day be finished. PS I only said people were interested in my Infinitithes thread because of all the views. Last edited by HawkI; April 20th, 2015 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Musing
April 20th, 2015, 12:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by HawkI I would go about storing a bolt of lightning by having a sort of Graphene Tesla Coil.
So this is where you could show that your idea is feasible. How heavy would such a Tesla coil have to be to hold the lightning bolt, and how much propulsion would it give? Would it be comparable to an ion drive, a chemical rocket, etc.?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by HawkI There seems to be this trend that new comers who don't have formal training in a subject are misguided when they have a new idea or possible clue.
I'd apply the same standard to someone's idea regardless of whether they have formal training or not: the idea needs to be well-presented and have enough details to verify.

April 20th, 2015, 01:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by HawkI There seems to be this trend that new comers who don't have formal training in a subject are misguided when they have a new idea or possible clue. I personally think that's because people don't want to admit that every field of knowledge will one day be finished.
You don't think that people who know their subject might just be able to spot why ideas formed from little knowledge are flawed? You don't imagine that they might even have seen the ideas before, posted by other well-intentioned dreamers?

Your infinitieths have been written about several times over the last year or so, and are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the infinite and the real number system.

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