Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
On the one hand, true. On the other hand, bollocks.

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Solar powered crude extraction

Several Large bimetallic coils in alternating shade ratcheting a single axle which winds an oil pump
 
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Ever noticed those pumps that pump crude oil are run by electric Motors? We should take the irony a step further and power it with my nifty solar heated metallic expansion engine.

The bimetallic strips are just 10-foot tall versions of the ones they have in thermostats. Running through the center of the coil is an axle. There is a one-way, ratchet cuff interfacing the coil with the axle (we will get to this,shortly).

There are actually 20 of these coils arranged 7 feet apart and anchored in concrete with fiberglass insulation plates to prevent heat transfer all the concrete. There are canopies above some of the coils. As the sun moves over head, the alternating areas of shade move causing some coils to expand while others contract. The expanding force is isolated from the axle by way of the aforementioned ratcheting cuff. The contracting force is transferred to the axle by the ratchet cuff.

At the opening, when people ask you about why it's pumping oil, tell them about how you could only get funding for the sculpture because you said it was an oil pump motor.

fishboner, Aug 08 2011

Bimetallic coil expanding http://upload.wikim...acts_to_lighter.gif
The kind in a thermostat [fishboner, Aug 08 2011]

For the ratchet action http://upload.wikim...l-filter-wrench.jpg
It only grips the axle in one direction [fishboner, Aug 08 2011]

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       The canopies could move, powered by the axle.
pocmloc, Aug 08 2011
  

       Well, I'd like the movement of the sun and earth to handle this. But you bring to mind the need for a third, huge coil tuned to expand all day, and contract all night.
fishboner, Aug 08 2011
  

       It should be possible to create a double ratchet mechanism that drives the shaft correctly on both expansion and contraction.
MechE, Aug 08 2011
  

       Oh a continuously ratcheting solution? Great. However, In my experience the shaft needs some rest between cycles, but that's just me.   

       Seriously, your annotation with a flywheel gets us pretty close to fully realized, IMHO.
fishboner, Aug 08 2011
  

       A more elegant approach would be to reduce the number of coils to 1, and let the night be the alternating shade. This would make mechE's annotation a neccecity.
fishboner, Aug 08 2011
  
      
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