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Perpetual Motion Machine

Because they are educational.
  (+10, -3)
(+10, -3)
  [vote for,

A while ago, [st3f] made the comment that in the setup of a perpetual motion machine, there is always some "sleight of hand" to divert attention away from the part that violates the laws of thermodynamics. This aspect, plus their perpetual appeal, sets the mobile perpetuum apart from other cases of "bad science". I propose that perpetual motion machines, once identified as such, can actually be useful object lessions in the laws of thermodynamics and how these manifest themselves. Currently there is a ban on perpetual motion machines. I propose that instead, these be moved to a new category / penalty box where they can be dissected and their true nature revealed.
bungston, Jan 30 2006

HP's perpetuum mobile http://www.hp-gramatke.net/perpetuum/
with animated drawings. [jutta, Jan 30 2006]

The Museum of Unworkable Devices http://www.lhup.edu...k/museum/unwork.htm
[xaviergisz, Jan 30 2006]

Maxwell's demon http://en.wikipedia...iki/Maxwell's_demon
[spidermother, Jan 30 2006]

(??) A possible energy supply A_20possible_20energy_20supply
This is what I'm talking about. [Slaith] may be educable! [bungston, Jan 31 2006]

Thane Heins http://www.google.c...earch?q=Thane+Heins
Google results for the guy that invented a motor that appears to be over unity but isn't. [marklar, Mar 03 2008]

(?) Not Perpetual Motion, but very exciting to watch http://www.machines...ics-on-its-ear.html
[quantum_flux, Mar 06 2008]


       I agree that they're educational, but I don't think this is the forum for them. You'd want drawings, and probably more central control over the editing to actually come up with a didactically good explanation.
jutta, Jan 30 2006

       [bungston]: is an electron in orbit, in perpetual motion?   

       and yep - I agree with you. +   

       We shouldn't be closed-minded. Do you think the laws as we currently understand them are 'fixed'? Anyone? Anyone?   

       I'd love to pick apart some of these device ideas.. in the name of education.
TIB, Jan 30 2006

       <crank alert>
I believe that an over-unity device will one day be, dis-un-re-covered, and I believe that it will take the cooperation of a forum as diverse and eclectic as the halfbakery and its members for it to be accomplished.
<crank alert terminated>

       It is not trivial to prove that Maxwell's demon and its variants are unworkable - I know, a mathematician friend, Sam, tried to explain a proof to me once.   

       I thought about posting an idea about a flat sheet of Maxwell's demon type gates that let molecules through in one direction, but not the other. Hey presto - a flying carpet! I didn't post because even though I don't fully understand why it would not work, I trust that such things have been considered and shown not to work.   

       However, the idea has promoted interesting discussions - "It won't work because it will require energy to open and close the gates" "But if we assume the gates to have arbitrarily low friction and mass, what then?" "Umm.. I don't know. It must have something to do with information. Where's Sam when you need him?" etc. In short, I approve.
spidermother, Jan 30 2006

       Ironically, Slaith's posting seems to have been deleted.
spidermother, Feb 01 2006

       I was about to post this category request myself, after seeing a "marked for deletion - perpetual motion" annotation on another idea.   

       I agree completely with bungston - finding the flaw in some of the more imaginative perpetual motion posts is immense fun and often educational.   

       I would disagree with [jutta]'s annotation that we'd need drawings etc. Where perpetual motion machines have been posted (inadvertently or advertently), they quite often stimulate an interesting discussion which is no less exciting or valid than that associated with many other impossible or impractical ideas. Frequently, some insight or some elegant line of reasoning emerges, and I think people sometimes learn something as well.   

       Obviously, there will be lots of cases where the idea is very naive (fans driving wind turbines...), but most of these would be liable for deletion as being redundant. Other cases may be more interesting.   

       It strikes me that "impossible" would be grounds for deletion for many other HB ideas: some of them are prohibited on the grounds of physics rather than practicality, yet they survive and stimulate discussion.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 02 2008

       I read about a guy recently who has made an over-unity magnetic motor. The only way he can get taken seriously is to keep telling people that it is not a perpetual motion device, just a more efficient motor. However, everyone that has seen it has said that it appears to be over unity, including someone from MIT.   

       Knee jerk MFDs are the typical response in here. Elsewhere, the reaction is harsher. I fully expect that someone will at some time produce a device that appears to be perpetual motion but actually takes advantage of potential energy that we weren't aware of.   

       Ah yes, I nearly forgot, my point is that if we don't listen, who will?
marklar, Mar 03 2008

       So, who exactly was the guy, and who exactly was the 'someone from MIT'? It's not an over-unity magnetic motor. My point wasn't that perpetual motion might be possible and therefore deserves a recipient audience; my point was that picking apart such devices is fun and informative.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2008

       I found the guy and investigated further. It's not over unity and he never claimed it was, but people thought it was when they saw it [link].   

       He is a good example of the kind of person that might enter an idea that is worth investigation and educates and possibly causes spin off (hehe) ideas.
marklar, Mar 03 2008

       My .02c on perpetual motion:   

       There are two "types".   

       Type the first: "sucks" energy out of some resource (some people might believe that solar power or geothermal energy are perpetual, or at least, a machine that tapped into these resources is perpetual). We can discount this one immediately, as the net gain of power is entropy-okay.   

       Item the second: "Creates" energy, sometimes with magnet "magic" or gravity "magic", or fluidic "magic" or some combination of all of them.   

       To the purveyors of #2, I attempt to point out that since E=mc^2, then M=e/(c^2). This means that given a very large quantity of energy, it is possible, through a currently untested method, to "assemble" a very tiny amount of matter.   

       My hope is that since matter is something people can see and touch, they'll think "hey, if i created enough energy, then it could be turned into matter. How could matter possibly appear from nowhere? Wow, perpetual motion is silly afterall. "   

       Admittedly, I've never convinced someone that perpetual motion doesn't make sense with that bit, but I don't give up easily.
ericscottf, Mar 03 2008

       Isn't that, in a nutshell, how anti-matter is created?
Shadow Phoenix, Mar 03 2008

       In a nutshell, no, it isn't.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2008

       No, you're thinking of nuts.
marklar, Mar 04 2008

       [quantum_flux] that's the same guy I was talking about.
marklar, Mar 06 2008


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