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Wireless Power Transmission

Nikola Tesla's grandest vision was the transmission of large amounts of power without wires. His work in this area was abandoned by his contemporaries, and there is still much debate over if it could or could not work. I would like to hear your opinions on this.
Do you think it is possible? Would it require only one transmitter, or several, spread across the globe? Would it be safe? Would it be worthwhile? Could Tesla's original spark gap circuit been sufficient to drive it? Or would it be better to use vacuum tubes or solid state setups? Would the operating frequency be very high or very low?
Pictured below is how I think Tesla may have done it, based on the information I've seen. It's a bit over-simplified, but to the best of my knowledge, it covers most of what is needed. Please note that, although the transmitter terminals would be at a much higher elevation than pictured, the receiving terminals could stay at a relatively low elevation.
This link is to a YouTube video of someone using a small Solid-State Tesla Coil for wireless power transmission: www.youtube.com/watch

Edit: I had orriginally imagined that the system would work by capacitive coupling between the Ionosphere and the coils. Afterwards I realized that electrostatic capacitive coupling will decouple after seperation between two plates is greater than 1/2 the wavelength (or, at least in theory), so I personally abandoned the idea. The only problem is that I can't imagine how power would be sent to airplanes.
Also, this is a very good read on the subject, from a very interesting site: www.teslaradio.com/pages/wireless_102.htm


Picture of Wireless Power Transmission
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NachoMahma7 years ago
.  Your biggest obstacle is the inverse-square law of radio propagation. And that doesn't include atmospheric conditions.
ElectricUmbrella (author)  NachoMahma7 years ago
After rethinking everything, I don't think that the real transmission would come from the antenna coupling to the ionosphere, so atmospheric conditions wouldn't be a problem. The main mode of transmission would most likely be through the Earth. But that doesn't solve that pesky inverse-square law.
Although... Tesla claimed that at a frequency of about 6-11 hertz, the Earth and ionosphere acted as a cavity resonator (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resonator#Cavity_resonators), and since that means low losses, then... but we don't know how low those losses would be in this case, or how big a transmitter we would need....
Or if the idea is even worth it - like Lemony said, pretty much everything Tesla made that was useful has already been realized.
lemonie7 years ago
Telsa died over 60 years ago. Anything useful like AC electricity has been used, the rest are mainly "fun" or experimentation. Better ways of doing the same have been developed since. Have a look for wireless power transmission, there's a lot of stuff there.

L
ElectricUmbrella (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Yeah, your right. While Tesla was great and I can learn a lot from him, I have to focus on the present day as well. That being said, his ideas are still quite fun to play with.
Yes, I think "fun" was a lot of what he did. If people of the time though he was great he could get funding for having fun with stuff. Out of fun came some things that were useful.
But let's think about this: what use is a Tesla coil? It's limited, most people build them for cool-arcs.
What I see repeatedly is ideas that anything tagged with his name must in some way be able to out-perform modern technology...

L
ElectricUmbrella (author)  lemonie7 years ago
The original uses for the Tesla Coil, a radio transmitter, is outdated by now. It still has some merit as a gas discharge lamp driver, or as a conventional transformer when applied the right way. But Tesla's main purpose for it, in later years of his life, was wireless power transmission. That's why I posted this topic, to see if the members of the Tesla group thought about his idea.
And unfortunately yes, usually things he made are assumed to out-perform modern technology, because many assume that Tesla knew some kind of magical detail in his machines that we are missing. This is the case with his wireless power scheme. And it is also the case with that stupid "Tesla Shield," "Tesla Purple Plate," and every thing else that pseudo-scientific con men sell by besmirching his good name. 

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Interesting stuff. I remember very very early Radio being broad-spectrum spark-based stuff?

L
ElectricUmbrella (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Yup, it used the EM rays made from a spark gap (which was a part of the antenna back then) to send the radio signal. Since they sent rays all across the spectrum, spark radios couldn't be tuned. Tesla didn't use the spark gap in his antenna, though; he used the radio waves coming from an antenna on his Tesla Coil secondary (which was adjusted as to be in max resonance without making sparks). It made tunable transmission possible.
He also used transmitters that used two or more frequencies in alternation to carry the signal. In this way, he made the message much more difficult to intercept.
And all that before Marconi!

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