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Nano flywheel

Get the atomic particle to spin faster and then retrieve the energy
 (+1) [vote for, against]

Storing energy in a flywheel and retrieving it (usually mechanically, using magnets) is quite straightforward.

This idea proposes to scale it down to the atomic level. Using a timed electromagnetic device to the resolution of picoseconds I can get electrons or perhaps even protons to spin, in their current orbit or perhaps even to change their actual spin around themselves (if there is such a notion, and not just in the name).

I have no idea how I would retrieve the energy, which would hopefully be stored and not immediately radiated off, and that's half the reason this is a halfbaked idea. The other half is that I have no idea how exactly I would do this, and not even exactly what the idea exactly is.

So, if this idea doesn't make sense, please help me make it make sense. If it does, please tell me what it is.

 — pashute, Feb 01 2017

 I am pretty sure it doesn't make sense, but my physics is not strong enough to explain exactly why.

 The "spin" of electrons and protons is not really a physical "spin" - it's just a name. You can put energy into materials, but it's not really flywheel-like storage. For instance, you can change electrons' orbits and then release that energy as a laser pulse or as phosphorescence, or as heat. Or you can change the orbits of electrons in water by electrolysis, producing hydrogen and oxygen - quite a good energy store.

//help me make it make sense// That could be tricky.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 01 2017

When you say a wheel is spinning you mean the particles are moving relative to each-other. When you say an electron is spinning you mean something entirely different. If I'm not mistaken the only way individual particles hold kinetic energy is heat or movement through space.
 — Voice, Feb 01 2017

@pashute,
It should be possible to design a molecule which is shaped like a disc with an axle. With properly distributed charges in the disc portion, oscillating electric fields could start it spinning. There shouldn't be any mechanical friction at the molecular scale, and they should therefore spin a while once started.
These should be arranged in three-dimensional arrays and kept in a vacuum. I have no idea how much energy it could store though.
 — Alvin, Feb 01 2017

 The energy stored in a flywheel depends on its speed of rotation and on its moment of inertia. The moment of inertia scales with the square of the rotor's diameter and thickness.

 Therefore, a flywheel half as big (linearly) can store 1/8th the energy; but then again you could fit 8 times as many into a small space.

 So, in theory, a material made of molecular flywheel could store as much energy as a single large flywheel the same size, if you could spin the molecules at the same rate. I think.

However, in practice, I am pretty sure that a spinning molecule, if it were part of a solid, would dissipate its rotational energy within a few picoseconds.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 01 2017

 How would spinning molecules in a vacuum dissipate their energy?

I wrote my reservation (as a question) about the notion of a physically spinning electron, exactly in order to differentiate between the term "electron spin" and a "physically spinning" particle, presumably "around its orbit", if it does "take up" space and if its parts that have mass can be considered being in a certain location at a certain time.
 — pashute, Feb 08 2017

 //How would spinning molecules in a vacuum dissipate their energy? //

 (1) Unless they are uncharged and non-polar, they will radiate electromagnetically as heat or light or radio (depending on the speed of rotation).

 (2) If they are part of a solid or liquid, they'll lose energy by interactions with the adjacent molecules. And if they're not part of a solid or liquid, how do you handle them usefully?

I think that what you have conceived here, [pash], is a new form of energy storage known as "heat".
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2017

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