We continue from
- US intelligence community releases long-awaited UFO report; the Classical Limit & Metaphysical Limit; Part 1
- US intelligence community UFO report; Reverse Engineering a Chinese Tic Tac; Part 2.
In Part 2, which advances the Chinese drone hypothesis, I cautioned, “Whether or not this explanation approaches correctness, it has an important purpose. It must be thoroughly disposed of before moving against Occam’s Razor, further down the list.” Perhaps I should have explicitly addressed sightings of something resembling a submarine at periscope depth. An entity which can field UFOs of such amazing ability would hardly need submarines, nor enjoy the corrosion of salt water. Which is easier to envision:
- An intelligence failure relating to submarines and drones circa 2003?
- Physics so far out of the box, we haven’t a clue?
Let’s assume that the Chinese drone hypothesis has been hammered on and deprecated. We would want to pipe-dream some ideas and make a category list:
- Within the state of the art.
- Not within the state of the art, but someone is spending money on it.
- Has been observed at large scale in the universe, but not on the scale of human engineering.
- Allowed by theory, or thought to be. This is frequently a mistake of naive interpretation.
- Metaphysical, informed speculations on aspects of the universe not accessible to us.
All of these, except for the last, involve energy. The concept of energy as a thing dates to 1740 due to a brilliant French woman, Émilie du Châtelet, doubtless inspired by Isaac Newton and the 1712 steam engine of Thomas Newcomen. Development of James Watt’s improved engine began in 1763, so du Châtelet was a true visionary.
Steam engines were used to do work, the expression referring to the replacement of human bucket brigades to bail water out of mines. For a given amount of fuel, how much work could a steam engine perform? In 1824, Sadi Carnot determined the best we can do. A steam engine requires a source of heat, and a source of cold. The greater the difference between hot and cold, the more work for a given amount of fuel energy.
What is surprising is that Carnot’s limit is a hard limit for every heat engine, steam, diesel, gas, jet, rocket. Each of these has its own limit, which is always less than Carnot’s limit. The limit says nothing about nuclear energy, but when a reactor makes steam to power a turbine which powers a generator, Carnot’s limit is in force.
In 1776, Watt’s engine was about 2% efficient. By 1900, it was 17%. Currently, the largest, most modern stationary gas turbines/combined cycle break 60%. Improvement of 1/4% per year in 245 years. This is endgame for heat engines.
At best, 40% is waste heat, what you feel when you touch the tailpipe of a car. With jets and rockets, the waste is much larger because without a shaft to turn, expanding hot gas does the work. (NASA) Newton’s Third Law: The exhaust goes in one direction; the plane or missile goes in the opposite direction. Action, reaction. Planes and rockets, except for gliders, have reaction engines.
All hot objects radiate infrared light. Reaction engines glow brightly in infrared. The Navy UFOs had no glow. Now refer to the category list, within the state of the art. At first glance, electric propulsion, a motor which turns a propeller or turbine, defies the limits of heat engines. This is an illusion; the bill is paid in waste heat at the generating plant.
But If a battery and motor have sufficiently low electrical resistance, a propeller or turbine can turn without a blazing heat/IR signature. The waste heat is magically left back at the generating plant. Efficiency in the drone itself of 80% is possible. A submarine can unnoticeably discharge massive waste heat from onboard generators into the ocean.
This is the motivation behind Part 2:
- Propulsion is provided by cold-air turbines spun by massive neodymium rare-earth permanent field motors.
An electric turbine would have much lower performance than rockets and jets. No known form of propulsion can explain the alleged performance characteristics of a Tic-Tac.
So we’ll next continue with the impractical and speculative.