Today I received two emails questioning Ivor Catt's theory. Both of them cited as evidence of falsehood by Catt aspects of electricity which I have investigated, and which Catt ignores.
First, how do insulators work? Catt says that the TEM wave at light speed, not the electron drift, carries electrical energy. If so, the emailer asked, why can't you use the outer electrons in anything to transfer the energy which constitutes electricity? In other words, why do conductors all have to have plenty of conduction electrons, if electron drift is not the mechanism of energy transfer in electricity?
To answer this objection is easy. All normal materials, including all insulators, contain electrons but if the electrons are tightly bound (not in the conduction zone), electric energy is immediately locked into the material, becoming heat. There is no such thing as a real insulator. All insulators do is to convert TEM wave energy into heat, via the vibration of atoms.
The electrons drift at only 1 mm/s for a typical current in a cable of 1 Amp. The mass of electrons is infidesimal, less than 0.1% of the mass of the cable, and their drift speed is only 1 mm/s or 0.001 m/s. The kinetic energy of the drift of electrons in a 1 m length of cable (through which electron drift takes 1000 seconds) is E = (1/2)mv^2.
It is billions of times smaller than the energy carried by the TEM wave, the light speed electricity mechanism (which goes at light speed for the insulator between the two wires in the cable, such as the plastic, or in other situations air or vacuum).
Electron drift current is important in delivering electrons to semiconductors, valves, and cathode ray tubes. It does not determine electrical resistance, it does not carry significant electrical energy, and it does not define the speed of electricity. All of the latter are the domain of the TEM wave, the pass-the-parcel emission and receiption of energy by static charges in a cable before a net electric field gradient is set up.
When you short out the + and - terminals of a 9 volt battery with a single wire 1 m long, it takes 3.3 nanoseconds for energy to travel the 1 m at the speed of light. During that interval, energy is travelling in an open circuit, because it doesn't know whether the circuit is open or closed.
These facts come from high speed logic, stemming from research in the 1960s by Catt and others, long after the 'laws' of electricity - such as the falsehood that electricity only flows in a complete circuit (in other words, the falsehood that if you connect two unterminated wires to a battery, the wires will be unable to charge up to the battery potential!) - were formulated by genuises like Ohm, Kirchoff, and of course his excellency James Clerk Maxwell.
It is worth considering historian A.F. Chalmers’ article, ‘Maxwell and the Displacement Current’ (Physics Education, vol. 10, 1975, pp. 45-9).
Chalmers states that Orwell’s novel 1984 helps to illustrate how the tale was fabricated: ‘history was constantly rewritten in such a way that it invariably appeared consistent with the reigning ideology.’
Maxwell tried to fix his original calculation deliberately in order to obtain the anticipated value for the speed of light, proven by Part 3 of his paper, On Physical Lines of Force (January 1862), as Chalmers explains:
‘Maxwell’s derivation contains an error, due to a faulty application of elasticity theory. If this error is corrected, we find that Maxwell’s model in fact yields a velocity of propagation in the electromagnetic medium which is a factor of 2^1/2 smaller than the velocity of light.’
It took three years for Maxwell to finally force-fit his ‘displacement current’ theory to take the form which allows it to give the already-known speed of light without the 41% error. Chalmers noted: ‘the change was not explicitly acknowledged by Maxwell.’
The second email I received today stated that Catt was wrong in discrediting Maxwell's displacement current equation. Here are links to Catt's 2 page 1979 Wireless World article:
Page 1: http://www.ivorcatt.org/icrwiworld78dec1.htm
Page 2: http://www.ivorcatt.org/icrwiworld78dec2.htm
The problem is with Figure 1(b) on the first page. The emailer said that Catt was wrong to show electric energy spreading across the capacitor plate, and should have drawn it going from one capacitor plate to the other. (The energy actually goes both ways at the same time, both spreading across the plates and transversing the gap between the two plates of a capacitor.)
In fact, this is the subject of the March 2005 Electronics World letter from me about Catt and Heaviside. Catt did make an error in neglecting to mention that energy does cross the gap between the capacitor plates, and this is the basis for all my work (Electronics World, April 2003, 6 page article; August 2002, 4 page article) in developing the implications of Catt's work for modern physics. So you win some, and you lose some. The Catt article (linked above) is still, despite neglecting energy flow along electric field lines, correct in what it does say. It is probably more important than Einstein's 1905 article on special relativity, which re-discovered the FitzGerald-Lorentz transformation without using the 'ether'. Both papers, Catt and Einstein, have a lot in common: both have valuable insight, both get the already-known right mathematical answers from non-mechanistic reasoning. Both also have advantages in opening up a new way of thinking. Einstein's error was to rely on Maxwell; Catt's was to rely on Heaviside. Despite the errors in dismissing causality, both papers in a way are enlightning.
Catt, Davidson, and Walton should receive a prize for the discovery that a capacitor charges in a series of small steps. This has been experimentally confirmed, and the same treatment has been done of the inductor and transformer.
However, they are suppressed. In the cases of Davidson and Walton, they are both trained physicists well used to the bigotry of the physics community, but Catt who is an engineer takes it less well, like myself, and speaks out against the problems in society which lead to the suppression of discussions. He sadly gets into worse political arguments, including campaigns for the rights of children to see their parents if they wish after a divorce, the problems with computers used in air traffic control, and so on. The string theory hype which has almost shut all science out of the media in Britain, and which has plummeted A-level physics uptake and shut university physics departments here, has also prevented Catt from getting more books and articles published. As a result, he gets still more involved in politics, even now in his 70s.
But string theory in 5-D seems to be helpful to us in unifying electromagnetism and general relativity and in providing a spacetime fabric as the fifth dimension.