High Voltage Heavy Lifting

Team: 57


Area of Science: Electrical Engineering


Problem Definition

Can a high voltage "asymmetric capacitor" be constructed which creates lift? Some hobbyist web sites suggest that it is possible to make such a devise and it will rise in the air.


We are going to attempt to confirm the possibility of building an "ionized wind" powered "lifter". Several web sites we have visited provide information on the construction of honeycomb-like frames made out of aluminum foil and balsa wood. These devises supposedly will levitate vertically when high voltage electricity is passed through them. A reference web site is:


A concern with many of the web sites is that they wonder into the area of pseudo-science: antigravity, perpetual motion or flying saucers. However, the above referenced site links to other sites that present "lifters" which appear to work.

Plan of Action

We initially plan to build a small, "proof of concept" model. If successful we then will construct a larger scale model with the potential of greater lift. There will be several engineering problems to be resolved. Aside from electrical ones, a "lifter" appears to be inherently unstable from an aerodynamic point of view. The web sites visited do not show controls to prevent drifting sideways or flipping over except for the use of tethers.

We also plan to develop a math model using StarLogo software to show the movement of a "lifter", given that we actually construct a successful working model.

Team Members:

  Sarah Armstrong
  Vanessa Trujillo
  Juan-Antonio Vigil
  Adam Armstrong
  Joseph Koby

Sponsoring Teacher: Robert Dryja