Experiment 07 (09/04/02)- Heated Nichrome cathode lifter

Engineer Xavier Borg - Blaze Labs Research

In this experiment, a simple lifter element has its top wire made out of fine Nichrome wire - the one usually used for electrical heaters. The aim of the experiment is to check for increase thrust of the lifter when the wire is heated.

heated cathode lifter
Nichrome wire lifter

The high voltage power supply was set just enough for the lifter to 'float' with its heater wire cold. The hv cathode is connected to the wire and anode to the foil. A low voltage 12v supply is also connected across the corona/heater wire. When this 12 V supply is switched on, temperature rises, and a boost is given to the lifter's thrust. When switched off, the lifter returns slowly to its normal thrust, as the temperature of the wire goes back to ambient value.

Heated lifter video
Click here to view video of this experiment - Heated Nichrome wire lifter

(File size 326kb DivX)

This experiment shows that it is possible to increase the thrust for a lifter by just increasing the temperature of the wire. In a way it works very similar to a heated cathode within a vacuum tube. The hotter the wire, the more ions are generated, the higher the current and the higher the thrust.


  1. The hotter the wire the higher the thrust
  2. The hotter the wire, the greater the hv current consumption
  3. Heating the wire offsets down the voltage required to obtain same thrust before heating
  4. Heating the wire decreases critical corona generation voltage.
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