Here is a detailed explanation of the working principle of our magnetic DPC system with simple, step-by step explanation of the concepts behind the unit. Feel free to watch the video or read the description below.
In order to understand how our magnetic DPCs work, we need to take a look at Earth's magnetic field and some related phenomena.
1. Earth's Magnetic Field - The Geomagnetic Field
Earth’s magnetic field is a combination of two parts of very different origins; one of them being almost constant, while the other one highly variable.
The Static Magnetic Field
The static magnetic field is believed to be generated by Earth’s molten outer core, about 3,000 kilometers below the surface. Differences in temperature, pressure and composition in the outer core makes the hotter, lighter matter from below to rise, and the cooler, denser matter from near the surface to sink, resulting in convection currents.
This flow of liquid iron generates electric currents, which in turn create the magnetic field. This is also known as dynamo effect.
The Variable Magnetic Field
A highly variable component of Earth's magnetic field also exists, which is created by variations of the Sun. The Sun is not just a big bright ball. It has a complicated magnetic field, which often changes explosively, spitting out hot plasma (high energy particles) into space, affecting Earth significantly.
The Sun's outermost region, the corona – a hot plasma aura surrounding the Sun, reaching temperatures of over 1 million degrees Celsius – constantly emits rapidly moving particles (in form of light, heat, radio waves, X-rays etc.) which escape into the surrounding space. This is the solar wind which travels at speeds of more than 1 million miles/hr in every direction, carrying parts of the Sun’s magnetic field toward Earth.
The pressure wave of the incoming solar wind reaches the outer edge of Earth’s magnetic field, compressing it on the Sun side (day side) and elongating it on the opposite side (night side). The Earth’s magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, thus becomes an asymmetrically shaped cavity, extending for about 10 Earth radii on the Sun’s side, and as an elongated long, comet-like tail of about 1,000 Earth radii on the nightside.
The shape of the magnetosphere varies dynamically, depending on the intensity of solar activity: if the solar wind is weak, the magnetosphere expands; if it is strong, the magnetosphere becomes more compressed.
There are a number of solar phenomena (explosive events) that can significantly increase the intensity of solar wind, creating major variations (disturbances) in Earth’s space environment. The most important ones are:
- Solar flares: are sudden bursts of X-rays and magnetic energy that travel at the speed of light in all directions. They can reach Earth in only 8 minutes.
- Coronal mass ejections (CME): are large explosions that release billions of tons of magnetized plasma and accompanying magnetic fields from the solar corona into the interplanetary space., which can take 1-3 days to reach Earth. When the ejection reaches Earth, the shock wave of traveling mass causes a geomagnetic storm that may severely disrupt Earth's magnetic field (magnetosphere), compressing it on the day side and extending the night-side magnetic tail.
The Result of Solar Activity - Geomagnetic Disturbances
Geomagnetic disturbances are variations (disturbances) in Earth’s magnetic field as a result of the variable solar activity; especially referring to the effects of solar flares, coronal mass ejections and other events. Depending on their severity and duration, they are classified into the following categories:
- Magnetic pulsations: smaller continuous variations of the magnetic field, not exceeding 10 nT. They are also known as ultra-low-frequency (ULF) waves, are very low frequency (1mHz – 5 Hz) local variations of the magnetic field. Some of these pulsations have a sinusoidal form (continuous or regular pulsations), while others exhibit a “spiky” irregular shape and character (called irregular pulsations). ULF pulsations occur more often during the night. Their amplitude is larger on the night side of Earth than on the day side.
- Substorms: larger variations lasting for 2-4 hours, several time a day, not exceeding 100 nT. Despite of 25 years of research substorms are the most basic unsolved problem in magnetospheric physics. It is believed they are driven by internal processes as they can occur regardless of solar activity. They occur several times a day, lasting for several hours (2-4 hours), observable primarily in the polar regions.
- Geomagnetic storms: are the largest disturbances of the magnetic field (up to 1,000 nT), that can last from a few hours to several days. Some of the effects of geomagnetic storms can also be observed visually. Plasma particles ﬂowing toward Earth’s poles collide with nitrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere resulting in green, blue, and red lights producing the northern lights – Aurora Borealis around the North Pole and Aurora Australis around the South Pole.
All planets rotate around their axis. As the Sun rotates, its magnetic field twists into an Archimedean spiral, as it extends through the solar system. This is known as the Parker spiral after Eugene Parker's work who predicted the structure of the interplanetary magnetic field.
Solar Activity Effects on Earth Systems
Geomagnetic storms and substorms can generate intense currents in the magnetosphere, as well as heat the upper atmosphere region, the ionosphere.
Satellites are particularly exposed and sensitive to space weather eﬀects and may easily experience radiation damage, electrical discharges or phantom commands.
Radio Systems, Navigation and Radar
The Sun is a powerful source of radio waves that generates a wide range of frequencies (from sub-hertz to several GHz). Radar systems operate in this frequency band using radio signals ranging from about 10 MHz up to 4 GHz.
These solar radio bursts can interfere with radio systems on the dayside on the Earth—especially with weak man-made signals such as GPS navigation signals and reflected signals from aircraft. These weak signals can be partially or fully absorbed – instead of being reflected back – by the extreme space weather effects, lead to loss of positions of thousands of airplanes, as well as to partial or complete communication blackouts.
Power Systems & Infrastructure
Geomagnetic storms can induce large electric currents in long conductors like power lines. Due to their low frequency components (quasi-DC voltage) they can saturate transformers, resulting in overload, overheating and potential failure, especially of older equipment.
On 13 March 1989, a severe geomagnetic storm caused the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid in a matter of seconds as equipment protective relays tripped in a cascading sequence of events. Six million people were left without power for nine hours, with significant economic loss. Since then power companies in the United Kingdom, Northern Europe and North America have invested in equipment mitigating the effects of geomagnetic events.
Space weather can also drive geomagnetically induced currents into rail tracks, interfering with circuits that detect the locations of trains or control the color light signals.
Several cases have been documented when traffic lights have incorrectly switched from green to red during major space weather events in 1982, 1989, and 2003. With the growth of high-speed rail systems the impact of space weather on rail systems remains a major area for study.
Pipelines are another type of long conductor made of steel, containing a high-pressure liquid or gas. In addition to corrosion resistant coating, they are also protected electronically with cathodic protection, by applying a small negative voltage in respect to the ground.
Substorm cycles can drive large magnetic field variations that can also be observed on the surface of the Earth. Due to their low frequency component (tens of millihertz) and the electrically conducting material that forms Earth’s crust, these frequencies can penetrate hundreds of kilometers deep into the solid body of the Earth. This is discussed in more detail in the next section.
Solar Activity Effects on the Ground - Electric Earth Currents
A variety of electrical currents in the magnetosphere and ionosphere also produce magnetic variations in the solid body of Earth.
There are at least
32 different known mechanisms which cause earth (telluric) currents, this includes a number of phenomena of solar, atmospheric, ground surface, groundwater or other origins. A few of these mechanisms – the ones that affect walls and building structures the most – are listed below.
During lightning strikes electrical charge is transferred from the atmosphere to the ground. Peak electric current is around 100,000 A. Lightning strikes also radiate powerful radio noise bursts over a wide frequency range from a few Hz to several MHz. These waves penetrate the ionosphere and due to their extremely low attenuation they can travel a few times around the globe before dissipating.
These waves propagating back and forth inside Earth-ionosphere cavity generate the Schumann resonances, which are used to monitor global lightning activity.
During thunderstorm activity storms charge-up the ground surface. In thunderstorm clouds, the negative charge at the bottom of the cloud is flowing downward in a form of a vertical electrical field. This current flow accounts for about 96% of the electrical activity of a storm, while lightning discharges account for a minority of about 4%.
When ionically-charged fluid (e.g. saline water) travels in a porous rock or building material, an electric current is created by the motion of the suspended ions. This is the principle behind household chemical batteries, and is common in nature.
Any conductor subject to temperature differences at its ends generates a DC voltage, with a negative charge (electrons) at the cold end and a positive charge at the warm end. Lab-based studies of NaCl saturated sandstone samples subject to temperatures differences resulted in an induced thermoelectric voltage; the stronger the salinity of the electrolyte the higher the induced voltage.
Seismic waves are energy waves that travel through Earth. On one hand, they can originate from large-scale seismic events such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, which generate low-frequency vibrations capable of traveling back and forth across the globe several times.
Other atmospheric phenomena (winds, river flow, ocean waves etc.) or nearby human activities (such as traffic, heavy machinery, industrial work etc.), also can generate persistent low frequency seismic vibrations on the ground (microseisms or microtremors).
Electrokinetic effects describe a family of different surface effects that occur at the contact surface of any solid and liquid. In this very thin, nanometer size region, water behaves very differently due to the existence of powerful molecular forces exerting a strong effect over short distances.
In regards to the movement of water across porous materials, the following 3 phenomena are of interest:
- Streaming potential: is an electrical potential created at the opposite ends of a capillary when liquid is moving through it. The mechanical movement of liquids through the capillary can be triggered by a number of external changes such as pressure or temperature differences at the opposite ends of the capillaries.
- Capillary osmosis (also known as osmosis or diffusion osmosis): is the movement of a liquid in a porous medium triggered by changes in electrolyte concentration (e.g. different salt concentrations).
In an attempt to equalize the chemical imbalances and to reach equilibrium, water will move from high water concentration to low water concentration (or from lower to higher salts concentration). As the highest salt concentrations can be found in the upper areas of the walls (also known as the salts band), osmosis generates an upward flow, lifting the water inside the capillaries.
- Electro osmosis: the presence of an external electric field – either man-made or natural – results in the movement of water inside any porous material or capillaries. The direction of the movement depends on the orientation of the electric field. Active electroosmotic DPCs, by applying a vertical electric field through embedded electrodes, work on this principle.
All electrokinetic phenomena occur at the contact surface between a solid and a liquid, where special interaction takes place between them. This is described below, and is known as the electrical double layer theory.
The vast majority of materials brought into contact with water will naturally acquire a negative surface charge. The negatively charged surface attracts positive charges (H+ and positive salt ions) from the liquid, resulting in a 2-layer electrical charge along the capillary walls, known as the electrical double layer (EDL):
- A fixed positively charged layer (the Stern layer), close to the surface, as a result of the strong electrostatic attraction of the nearby surface.
- A mobile, loosely connected layer further away from the surface (the diffuse layer), due to the weakened electrostatic attraction of the surface.
2. Electric & Magnetic Effects on Wall Structures
As the Sun’s energy – Earth’s primary source of energy – cascades down from outer space through Earth’s upper layers (magnetosphere > ionosphere > atmosphere etc.) towards the surface, it creates a wide variety of electric and magnetic phenomena (collectively called “electronic” phenomena) – many of them, due to their complex nature, are still poorly understood by science.
As our buildings are built onto earth in direct electric contact with the soil, these seemingly invisible electronic phenomena affect our building structures to a considerable extent.
Wall capillaries containing conductive saline water act as miniature antennas. Any antenna is basically an energy transformer, it transforms electromagnetic signals into electric voltages and currents. From the multitude of wavelengths out there, it will only select the one that matches its own length. At this frequency – known as the “resonant” (operational) frequency – energy transfer will occur from the environment (waves) to the antenna; the antenna will receive energy (receiving antenna).
As wall capillaries form an intricate intertwined network, with capillaries of different sizes (in length and diameter), any damp wall can be regarded as a complex antenna network tuned onto a wide range of different frequencies.
Our research indicates, that due to the constant influx of geomagnetic and electromagnetic radiation from the environment the wall fabric is kept in a constantly “energized” or “charged-up” state, resulting in a host of secondary level electronic phenomena inside the conductive capillaries. The combination of these phenomena – of electrokinetic, electrochemical, thermoelectrical, seismoelectric etc. nature – perturb the electrostatic equilibrium of the electrical double layer of porous surfaces, resulting in the rise of water inside the capillaries, overcoming gravity.
Capillary action is thus the combined effect of all “electronic” phenomena which make water rise inside the building fabric, overcoming the effect of gravity.
The exact mechanism of how all these molecular phenomena interact, due to their complexity, are not fully understood and it is the subject of further research.
However, the “big picture” is much simpler: experimental data has confirmed that by eliminating some of these “electronic” influences from around the wall fabric restores the dominant effect of gravity, resulting in the reversal of water flow inside the capillaries, permanently eliminating rising damp from old buildings, without any detrimental effects whatsoever to the building or inhabitants. Controlled lab-based studies are also underway in this regard.
These findings open the door to a new approach in handling rising damp.
3. Working Principle of a Magnetic DPC
Walls are made of porous building materials with many capillaries. A wall is an irregular network of capillaries of various lengths and diameters.
Capillaries containing conductive saline water act as miniature antennas. Any antenna is a basically an energy transformer, it transforms electromagnetic signals into electric voltages and currents. From the multitude of wavelengths out there, it will only select the one that matches its own length. At this frequency – known as the “resonant” (operational) frequency – energy transfer will occur from the environment (waves) to the antenna; the antenna will receive energy (receiving antenna).
As wall capillaries form an intricate intertwined network, with capillaries of different sizes (in length and diameter), any damp wall can be regarded as a complex antenna network tuned onto a wide range of different frequencies.
Due to the constant influx of geomagnetic and electromagnetic radiation from the environment, the wall fabric is kept in a constantly “energized” or “charged-up” state, resulting in a host of secondary level electronic phenomena inside the conductive capillaries. The combination of these phenomena – of electrokinetic, electrochemical, thermoelectrical, seismoelectric etc. nature – perturb the electrostatic equilibrium of the electrical double layer of porous surfaces, resulting in the rise of water inside the capillaries, overcoming gravity.
It has been found that only a handful of critical frequencies are responsible for the rise of water inside the capillaries. Conversely, if these somehow could be “filtered out” from the airwaves, or prevent them from reaching and interacting with the surrounding walls, the problem of rising damp should cease to exist.
Years of practical research and testing have finally led to the identification of critical frequencies, and a solution has also been found to non-invasively filter them out from the airwaves. This is exactly what a magnetic DPC does: it selectively filters out all critical frequencies that interact with the walls and affect the surface layer (electrical double layer) in a way that results in the rise of water inside the capillaries. The DPC system dissipates or “short circuits” these critical frequencies – without affecting anything else – transforming them into a tiny amount of heat.
The concept of the magnetic DPC is somewhat similar to the working principle of the lightning rod – except from technical viewpoint the magnetic DPC is much more complex as it deals with a wide spectrum of extremely small variable and pulsed signals, rather than the mostly DC type lightning. The primary purpose of a lightning rod is to provide an elevated earth point so the excess potential of the air can flow towards the ground and thus prevent the build-up of high potentials.
Nature also always seeks equilibrium and balance, everything flowing from a higher energy state to a lower energy state. E.g. rivers follow gravity from high to low elevation; winds flow from high pressure to low pressure areas; electrical potentials always flow towards an earth point; hot objects cool down; or a high-speed motion, without further energy input, gradually slows down to a halt etc.
The magnetic DPC is a small electronic unit in a lampshade-like case, usually installed on the ground floor of the building, mostly hidden from view. Internally, it contains a set of precisely tuned wide-band antennas (aerials) in an earthed case. One of its internal circuits picks up magnetic field from the surroundings which is then relayed internally to the highly selective filtering circuit, filtering out the critical frequencies from the mix. Wi-Fi or any telecommunication frequencies are not affected.
By creating with the magnetic DPC an artificial low-energy point in the building, the energy distribution in the building changes and energy starts flowing from all directions towards the earth point (the grounded DPC system), which starts absorbing or filtering out all critical frequencies from the surrounding airspace in the process. As a result, the walls which were previously kept in a permanently energized or charged-up state by these critical frequencies, now can “catch a break ” and naturally discharge. In lack of ongoing charging, the wall fabric lets go of the water which – under the effect of gravity – gradually flows back into the ground and the building dries out.
Drainage or French drains also utilize the same principle of equilibrium. By digging a deep hole or a trench in the ground – which represents a low energy point – the balance of water table around the building is disturbed, making water flow towards it, reducing the moisture content of the soil.
Practical Workability Test
The workability of the magnetic DPC can be easily demonstrated by a simple practical test.
As mentioned earlier the upward movement of saline water inside the wall capillaries creates a difference of potential known as the streaming potential. This can be measured with a set of special electrodes and a high impedance multi-meter. Comparative measurements of the streaming potential before and after the installation of the system show a reversal of the streaming potential (e.g. from +70 mV to –40 mV) usually within an hour following the installation of the DPC system.
Here is a real-life example of streaming potential measurements in a damp basement.
Before the installation of the DPC system the measured streaming potential was +270 mV DC.
About 1.5 hours later following the installation of the system, the streaming potential changed to –21 mV DC. This indicates a reversal of the direction of the capillary flow, from upwards to downwards, as the streaming current always flows in the direction of the liquid flow.
Thousands of tests done on buildings of various ages (ranging from 50 to about 1,000 years old), with various mix of building materials (bricks, stone, concrete etc.) have practically demonstrated without a shadow of doubt that once a magnetic DPC is installed in a building, it will have a positive effect on the building and permanently reverse rising damp non-invasively.
Some more lab-based studies are underway in this regard, which consist of the long-term monitoring of identical wall sections in a controlled environment, subject to both fresh or saline water, with some wall sections also being completely shielded from the presence of all electrical and magnetic fields, which allows the comparative study of rising damp between walls subject the natural geomagnetic field vs completely shielded walls.
Best to our knowledge, such tests have not yet been carried out in the scientific community. We also think such a research could explain some of the anomalies on why some buildings are damper than others, or in some old building built on the soil, without any damp proof course, there is no rising damp present at all.
Effect on Living Organisms
The unit acts as a partial Faraday cage, and as such nothing is coming out of it.
It is one of the very few technologies that instead of generating electromagnetic pollution, it will dissipate (short circuit) them resulting in a less polluted environment.
Effect on Timber
The DPC system has no direct effect on timber. Indirectly, however can have a beneficial effect on timber making it less susceptible to rot. Here is why:
- Free water that is contained as liquid in the wood itself
- Bound water that is part of the cell/fibre wall material
Once a fresh log is cut it starts losing its free water content. After all the free water is gone, the wood starts losing its bound water content from its fibers, during which a reduction of the wood’s volume occurs. Just how much bound moisture is lost during the drying phase it depends on the temperature and relative humidity (RH) of the surrounding air.
The moisture content of timber structures or fixtures in buildings (timber frame structures, furniture, wooden panelling etc.) is determined primarily by the relative humidity (RH) of the surrounding air. This is known as equilibrium moisture content (EMC) or airdry moisture content.
During the dehydration process the excessive evaporation of walls reduces and the indoor climate of the building normalizes e.g. reduces from 80% or higher to 50-60% or so. The reduced and normalized moisture content makes timber less susceptible to rot, as fungal decay is more likely to occur at high levels of humidity.