Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the Wave Disk Generator Works


The Spinning Pagan Sun

The wave disk generator was built by a group of researchers at Michigan State University, with a man named Norbert Müller (pronounced like Ferris Bueller) heading up the team. At first glance, the wave disk generator looks more like a pagan sun than a revolutionary propulsion system. Maybe Winston Churchill was right when he said, "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see" [source: Brainy Quote]. OK, so that quote may be a little out of context but the design of the WDG does look like old sun images, just see for yourself.

But enough about the sun. Let's talk about how it works. We're going have to board the technical train for just a moment so we can learn how this disk actually produces power. Next stop, Eurekaville, or Smartertown or...just forget it, this isn't working.

Like an internal combustion engine, air and fuel are inserted into the generator. The rotor first starts spinning using battery electricity. So technically, the wave disk generator system is a hybrid system [source: ARPA]. As the rotor spins, pressure builds inside the chambers filled with air and fuel.

The pressure then creates a shockwave inside the chamber and moves towards the openings where the fuel and air were first inserted. Before they can reach the opening, the rotor spins and closes off the opening. The compressed mixture is then ignited and the exhaust is sent out through an open port, which causes the rotor to spin faster. The spinning rotor creates electricity that it sends back to the battery and the process continues throughout all of the chambers [source: Knight].

Got all that? If not, it might help to think of the rotor like a pinwheel. As the wind blows the pinwheel is spins around. The faster the wind blows the more the pinwheel spins. Now let's say you were able to connect wires to the pinwheel and harness the energy. This is a crude example but it'll give you picture of how the rotor spins and how its speed produces more energy.


More to Explore