I am not much interested in the personal antics involved with all this stuff. I'd much rather have an answer to how/why the cylinder demonstrated by Bob Rohner compressed more quickly than gravity could have caused.
I think this notion is more the product of suggestion by Rohner than observation.
Unless that inductor was on a time delay, and was used to slam the cylinder back down, I can't understand what could cause that.
Consider that an object given an upward impulse will initially accelerate, then decelerate to apogee. ( I am referring to the weight on top of the piston.) The Weight will operate in the manner of the thrown ball, while the piston has an additional force upon it which the weight does not have.
The piston receives it's impulse from the shockwave created by the plasma discharge. As the piston moves outward as a result of it's impulse it's inertia will eventually produce (In what was a prior state of one Atmosphere) a momentary vacuum which will eventually arrest and reverse the direction of the piston's motion.
Headers for automobile engines have long relied on this principle as applied to the inertia of air traveling down a pipe. How much stronger should this effect be with an actual moving inertial mass of perhaps several pounds?
Are you familiar with the pulse detonation engine?
It does indeed appear that the gas inside the cylinder expanded with great force, and then contracted once again, but I know of no known process that could account for such a thing.
I think this thing is a plasma discharge variation on the same concept.
I think a plasma discharge creates a shockwave which travels up the tube and impacts the piston thereby imparting an impulse to it. The piston then transfers the impulse to the weight atop it. Once the piston is moving, it travels forward until the vacuum created behind it slows and reverses it's direction of travel. The weight, being unencumbered by the vacuum drag continues forward ballistically.
I suspect that all the energy imparted as a shockwave is equivalent to the electrical energy discharged into the plasma. Rohner mentions that he has two 3 ohm wire wound resistors which are getting hot as a result of the few times he's fired the device. Other diagrams indicate that heavy duty (20 watts perhaps) wire wound resistors are included in some of the engine designs he showed in his slide presentation.
Since his resistors are so quickly getting hot, it becomes apparent that his plasma discharge is requiring a great deal more energy than would an ignition spark for a gasoline engine.
At this point, I highly suspect that all the energy demonstrated in the impulse applied to the piston/weight combination is imparted by the equivalent electrical energy being discharged into the gas, thereby creating a plasma induced shock-wave.
Another clue is when he demonstrates a plasma discharge in air. Ordinary ignition spark discharges do not produce such explosive pops in ordinary air. Judging by the effect he produced in air, I would suggest he is using a very powerful electrical discharge. The requirement of having a capacitor would also be indicative of this.
Now his argument is that this whole apparatus produces more energy than it takes to drive it. I remain highly skeptical of that claim. The pulse detonation effect produces a higher efficiency in converting heat energy to mechanical motion, (The temperature at the center of the discharge is perhaps 10,000 degrees or more, thereby improving on an ordinary combustion produced temperature differential) but it is definitely not over unity.
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —