The Biefeld-Brown Effect » 30 July 04

What is antigravity? An artificially generated gravity field that can oppose earth’s own and provide propulsion.

The earliest modern discovery of antigravity belongs to Dr Alfred Biefeld, professor of physics and astronomy at Denison University. According to an old article in FATE magazine, in the early 1920s Dr Biefeld performed laboratory experiments involving capacitors charged with high voltage alternating currents. When charged, these capacitors would violently “twist and lurch” before burning out. This indicated that charged high voltage capacitors exhibited self-propulsive effects. Further research into this anomalous phenomenon was taken up by Thomas Townsend Brown, then a physics student at Denison University working for Dr Biefeld. This began Townsend Brown’s life-long research into antigravity.

Brown’s first experiments consisted of two lead spheres connected by a nonconductive glass rod, like a dumbell. One sphere was charged positive, the other negative, with a total of 120 kilovolts between them. This formed a large electric dipole. When suspended, the system moved toward the positive pole, arcing upwards and staying there against the force of gravity tugging downward. This showed that electric dipoles generate self-acceleration toward the positive pole. This experiment was repeated in oil, in a grounded tank, proving that ion wind was not responsible.

Improved versions of this setup replaced the lead spheres with metal plates, and glass rod with dielectric plates or blocks. This created a high voltage parallel plate capacitor with one or more layers. Brown’s British patent #300,111 – issued in 1927 – described what he termed a “cellular gravitator” consisting of numerous metal plates interleaved with dielectric plates, the entire block wrapped in insulating material and end plates connected to output electrodes and a spark gap to limit the input voltage. This device produced significant acceleration.

Later, Brown experimented with saucer-shaped disks with positive and negative electrodes on opposite sides. This created an open-air high voltage capacitor that combined the electrogravitational effect with ion wind phenomena for propulsion. They worked well in air, and they worked well in vacuum.

Interestingly, the majority of modern articles investigating Brown’s work tend to focus on disk gravitators. Because they include ion wind as part of their operation, debate has arisen whether the Biefeld-Brown effect cannot be explained away entirely by ion wind. Brown’s 1927 patent, however, described a self-contained device that exhibited no ion wind effects and relied solely upon the electrogravitational action arising from the electric dipoles within the gravitator-capacitor.

In my opinion, the cellular gravitator is far more important in demonstrating the validity of the Biefield-Brown effect than the debatable disk-shaped gravitators. Why did Brown never mention cellular gravitators again after the 1930s, considering they unequivocally proved electrogravitation? Maybe because that part of his research became classified. The remaining public aspect, particularly his later patents, were limited to ion wind type devices, or at least those that included that possibility so as to make the electrogravitational aspect more ambiguous. We should remember that Brown was allegedly involved in Project Rainbow, suggesting that much of what we know publicly of his work may only be the “soft” stuff.

Let us therefore focus on the more important part of his research, the cellular gravitators. There were several factors Brown recognized affecting their behavior and the strength of the electrogravitational effect. These are listed as follows:

  1. applied voltage — greater the voltage, greater the gravitator swings toward the positive end. However, in his British patent, Brown explained that beyond a critical voltage the gravitator would reverse motion and swing toward the negative electrode instead. Perhaps this was due to dielectric breakdown.
  2. applied current — current is necessary only to overcome leakage of the capacitor. If current is insufficient, the gravitator will not maintain its voltage and therefore the electrogravitational effect will either wane or not manifest noticeably. Van de Graff generators provide microamps of currents, which is normally not enough to power a gravitator. A solid state high voltage DC generator utilizing a cockroft-walton multiplier would be needed instead.
  3. mass of the dielectric — determines only the total energy of the gravitator once it swings to a given height. Some sources state that the greater the mass, the stronger the electrogravitational effect, but this is debatable since Brown never mentioned this and said instead that only the gravitational potential energy increases with mass since E = m g h.
  4. duration of impulse — the gravitator’s impulse fluctuates with time, apparently due to environmental gravitational conditions – particularly those arising from position of the sun and moon. This effect was later employed by Greg Hodowanec in his gravitational wave detector circuits, which monitored the voltage across an electrolytic capacitor that fluctuated as the gravitational influence of heavenly bodies changed with time. Just as capacitors charged with electricity generate a gravity field, so can gravity fields affect the electrical charge of a capacitor.
  5. strength of the dielectric — higher the dielectric constant, stronger the effect. The dielectric constant measures a material’s ability to store electricity in the form of electric displacement or polarization. The more energy is stored via electric polarization, the greater the electrogravitational effect.
  6. capacitance of the gravitator — higher the capacitance, greater the effect. So the closer the metal plates, the larger the plates, the greater the number of cells (and as mentioned, higher the dielectric constant of the insulator between metal plates, as this also determines total capacitance), the stronger the Biefield-Brown effect.
  7. geometry of electrodes — increased asymmetry between electrodes increases the effect. This will be explained below.

How it Works

To understand the Biefeld-Brown effect, we must understand why electric dipoles (positive and negative charges separated by a fixed distance) accelerate toward the positive pole. The answer is simple:

Positive and negative charges, in addition to creating an electric field, also generate slight gravitational fields. You could say charged masses warp space more than uncharged masses do. Positive charges induce a convergence in space and negative charges inducing a divergence in space. Thus, positive charges emit a gravitational field while negative charges emit an antigravitational field. This arises purely from the geometry of the electric field, which happens to include a component that shares the same geometry as a gravity field and thus gives rise to one.

Now, an electric charge by itself emits a symmetric field, whether it’s gravitationally attractive or repulsive. So left to itself, the charge goes nowhere. However, in an electric dipole, an interesting situation arises as shown in the following diagram:

Consider positive charges “sucking in” the surrounding space, and negative charges “blowing out” the surrounding space. By separating them at a fixed distance, the fields between the poles “occupy” or “cancel” each other, while the flow/distortion surrounding the entire dipole is biased in one direction. The positive pole sucks in from the left, the negative pole blows out to the right, and thus the entire dipole propels itself leftward toward the positive pole.

In a parallel plate capacitor, the electric fields outside the capacitor cancel, but the divergent and convergent gravity fields do not, which is why a cellular gravitator can accelerate toward the positive pole without inducing or utilizing any external ion wind effects.

Because electric fields are immensely stronger than gravity fields, it is not generally recognized by modern physics that electric charges contain net gravity fields because the latter are difficult to detect. Nevertheless, certain experimental setups confirm that it is so, such as the gravitator experiment, the different fall rates or pendulum swing periods of oppositely charged objects.

Asymmetric Electrodes

It should now be clear that electrogravitational self-acceleration requires a difference in the gravitational divergence between two poles. Using symmetric electrodes, this is done as simply as giving one a positive charge and the other a negative one. But it’s also possible to create additional asymmetry by making the electrodes themselves asymmetric. This changes the spread of the electric field, which in turn affects the geometric component giving rise to the gravity field.

Toward this end, Brown experimented with umbrella and disk shaped gravitators. The umbrella devices consisted of two electrodes, one positive and one negative, with one electrode shaped like a large bowl and the other like a smaller bowl. Overall, this formed an open-air capacitor but with asymmetric electrodes, whose asymmetric electric fields generated unbalanced gravitational divergences and increased acceleration. The disk gravitators, described earlier, did the same except one electrode formed the leading edge of the disk, while the other electrode formed the body and trailing edge.


One common application of the Biefeld-Brown effect is in the form of “lifters” — these are constructions made of balsa wood frames, wire, and aluminum foil. Lifters separate a grid of negatively charged wires from a grid of grounded or positively charged aluminum foil fins. They rely upon a principle patented in 1957 by Townsend Brown (US patent #3,018,394 titled “Electrokinetic Transducer”). While they have been around since the late 50s, lifters haven’t become popular until recently. They are easy to assemble and require only a moderate high voltage supply, around 30 kilovolts.

How do lifters work? The same way Brown’s later devices worked: through a combination of electrogravitational and ion wind mechanisms. The asymmetry of electrodes alone guarantees a genuine electrogravitational component to the propulsion, while it is clear from observing them in action that ion wind is also involved.

Some say that ion wind cannot explain the level of wind generated by lifters. That much I agree with – however, one must also take into account that negative ions create an electrostatic cooling effect, converting thermal energy to kinetic energy, cooling the air while speeding it up. Thus, the wind results not only from air becoming negatively ionized and attracting toward the positive electrode, but also because it gains additional kinetic energy thanks to the negentropic electrostatic cooling phenomenon.

Nevertheless, for those wishing to debunk the Biefeld-Brown effect by attributing it entirely to ion wind, it must be pointed out that closed capacitors, the cellular gravitators, also self-accelerate without any ion wind effects. Electrogravity arises primarily from the gravitational component of the electric field, harnessed for propulsion via the asymmetrical gravitational field of electric dipoles. Brown also experimented with disk gravitators in vacuum chambers and observed them accelerating nearly as quickly as when run at atmospheric pressure.

Experimental Set up

Confirming the Biefeld-Brown effect would require the following:

  1. 200 kilovolt DC, minimum 200 microamps, solid state high voltage generator — these consist primarily of an autotransformer, a TV flyback transformer and transistor circuit, and a many-staged cockroft-walton voltage multiplier and rectifier. You can buy them from Information Unlimited.
  2. metal capacitor plates — made from aluminum foil or aluminum flashing cut into rounded squares. The rounded edges are needed to prevent arcing and corona leakage.
  3. dielectric sheets — made from the best dielectric material available. These must be cut into squares that are larger than the metal plates. Polypropylene, polystyrene, mica, and if available, high-K ceramic plates, are appropriate materials. Make sure the sheets are thick enough to prevent dielectric breakdown or your gravitator will burn out.
  4. paraffin wax or transformer oil — because the metal plates take up space due to their thickness, there will be slight spaces between one dielectric sheet and another. Once all the plates and sheets are interleaved and bound together, the entire thing is best immersed in transformer oil, or cast in paraffin wax or resin.

These are just the basics…examine Brown’s 1927 patent for more information. Also beware that while a high voltage generator gently zaps you should you touch it, once this electricity is stored in a capacitor it reaches lethal power levels. Once I was stupid enough to peel apart a gravitator capacitor days after charging it with a Van de Graaf generator…thought it was discharged, but the shock I received as I stuck my fingers in there to pry it apart threw me back against the wall. So — only do this experiment if you’re a responsible and smart hobbyist, as I’ll take no responsibility for what you do with this info.


The Biefeld-Brown effect demonstrates a link between electricity and gravity. Given the explanation above, it should be clear why electric dipoles self-accelerate toward the positive pole; the positive pole converges space, the negative poles diverges space, and being that between poles these distortions cancel while outside these poles they point in one direction, the dipole as a whole should accelerate in one direction.

Further Information

  • Thomas Townsend Brown – excellent collection of documents, articles, and pictures of Brown and his research.