Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

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Kdz
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Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Kdz » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:13 pm UTC

http://www.surphzup.com/

He claims it will be done in June. Thoughts?

Note: I'm fairly sure this is the correct forum to post this in, but this is my first new topic (posted in a few others), so I may be wrong. Also, I'm no science expert, which is why I posted this. I want to know what some more reputable minds think. I did some searching and didn't come up with anything already talking about this.

Further, the guy seems to have a lot of tangents on socialist ideas for a site that's supposed to be about this damn machine he's building.

Credibility:
He's actually building something, and providing evidence through pictures.
He isn't looking for money, or contacts, or anything, it seems.
There are some PDFs of what he's done in the past with other things, though I don't really know too much about what I'm looking at. I took a high school level physics course a couple of years ago, so I'm far from an expert.

Questionability:
Why all the tangents?
For someone of supposedly Australian origin, he has terrible English.
He claims all kinds of past experience, with no real proof of who he is or what he did, other than what he says.
Probably plenty of other things.

So again, I ask this community to take a look and tell me what the hell is going on. Just curious as to whether I should be hopeful of free energy or not. :)

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:22 pm UTC

Oh look, another overbalanced wheel.
what we are building is a machine that has mastered the art of moving the weight roughly from the 7 o’clock position back up to the one o’clock position so that the wheel is always having to let the heavier side fall.

Fail.

The physics of such a contraption are explained here if you need to work out for yourself why this won't work: http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/museum/overbal.htm
Science still works, no free energy for you I'm afraid.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby BlackSails » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:23 pm UTC

Kdz wrote:Just curious as to whether I should be hopeful of free energy or not. :)


You should not be.

To put it simply, if free energy is possible then every single thing we know about physics is wrong. Everything.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Kdz » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:24 am UTC

I read the article on unbalanced wheels, but it seems what Mr. Austalia is suggesting here is something else brings the wheel back around to the top position, so that the effort used to do so is less than the energy generated.

What I don't see on the site currently is how in the hell he's planning on doing that. So I currently have to assume that it's just like all the other wheels in that article.

Then again, I'm still having a pretty tough time understanding a damn thing he's saying; his English is so terrible. It's possible he mentioned something in there somewhere.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:47 am UTC

Kdz wrote:I read the article on unbalanced wheels, but it seems what Mr. Austalia is suggesting here is something else brings the wheel back around to the top position, so that the effort used to do so is less than the energy generated.

Then that "something else" is what is powering the wheel. The energy required to move the wheel or weight back to its initial position is exactly equal to the energy you could extract from it falling. Always, no matter what mechanism you design to move it back. No seriously, you cannot create energy that way.

If I gave you some imaginary frictionless materials you could make a wheel or pendulum that moves forever but only as long as you do not try to have it power anything. A falling mass will convert gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy and you can use that kinetic energy to lift it back to it's initial height but the total energy in the system is always constant. As soon as you try to use some of that energy to turn a generator, heat something, or whatever then the system is losing energy and will slow to a stop.

Sorry but it is not going to work.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Kdz » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:59 am UTC

I suppose I wasn't being to clear, my apologies.

I realize what he's proposing still requires outside power (The "something else"). What I'm trying to figure out is what he's actually suggesting that's going to be, and how that's supposed to be powered by the machine itself.

Basically, how is this supposed to be perpetual motion? Even though it isn't, what is he proposing?

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby CivilDefense700 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:11 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Kdz wrote:Just curious as to whether I should be hopeful of free energy or not. :)


You should not be.

To put it simply, if free energy is possible then every single thing we know about physics is wrong. Everything.


What are you talking about? We already have free energy! It's called SOLAR POWER !!

Although you have to initially invest a lot of money.
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:17 am UTC

Kdz wrote:Basically, how is this supposed to be perpetual motion? Even though it isn't, what is he proposing?

It's probably a simple misconception that moving the weight across the diameter of the wheel is somehow less work than it traveling around the circumference or possibly that moving just the weight "up" instead of the entire wheel will allow the wheel to gain speed on each rotation.
I couldn't say for sure. I didn't see a complete mechanism on skimming the site and didn't feel like digging through the rants about global conspiracies lead by the oil industry to try to find more irrelevant details. Too bad this fellow wasted so much time and the cost of a generator trying to solve what should have been a simple problem but given the conspiracy crackpottery I don't think it is worth trying to explain the physics to him. Once you start ranting about causing a global economic crisis by revolutionizing our energy supply with a perpetual motion machine there is clearly too much emotion involved for a little thing like physics to stop you.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Kachi » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:21 am UTC

This is a ludicrous example, I realize, but let's say that there were a perfectly circular path around the world. Setting aside for a moment that given the volume of the Earth, it would essentially be the same as a completely flat surface on any reasonable scale, could gravitational energy keep a wheel along this path in constant motion, theoretically?

Well, I was just toying with ideas for using gravitational energy to produce very cheap energy. At least within our global system, gravitational energy is essentially free, right? I mean, in the way that solar energy is essentially free. An existing untapped source of energy within the solar system.

For example, could you (again, theoretically) use the orbit of the moon to generate energy? Say by attaching a rod from the moon to the earth. The rod wouldn't be connected to the earth but would at times pass into the earth's atmosphere and act as a kinetic energy source for a generator. Or am I somehow going to destroy the world by doing this?

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Robin S » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:40 am UTC

The only way to get gravitational energy out of something is if it falls from a higher location to a lower location, thus losing some gravitational potential energy - this is converted into kinetic energy, which can be used. However, you can't keep objects falling indefinitely. The only way to keep a wheel rolling around the Earth would be to make sure that it lost no energy from friction, drag etc. This is physically impossible.

A possible way in which gravitational energy could be used is the space elevator. Currently, when space shuttles re-enter the Earth's atmosphere - one of the few occasions on which a sufficiently large object falls from a sufficient height to convert much gravitational potential energy into a useful form - that energy is wasted. However, if re-entering spacecraft instead attached to some form of very high pulley, the energy released as they descended could be used to pull other spacecraft further out of the Earth's gravitational well, greatly reducing the amount of fuel needed to leave it completely. If such a space elevator could be built, space travel - at least, within the Solar System - would become much cheaper. The problem is finding suitable materials; currently, carbon nanotubes are our best bet. But I'm going off-topic.
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:45 am UTC

Kachi wrote:This is a ludicrous example, I realize, but let's say that there were a perfectly circular path around the world. Setting aside for a moment that given the volume of the Earth, it would essentially be the same as a completely flat surface on any reasonable scale, could gravitational energy keep a wheel along this path in constant motion, theoretically?

How about we simplify that a little bit. Gravity can keep a satellite in motion around the Earth as it is perpetually "falling" but traveling laterally at the same rate the curvature of the Earth drops off below it. However this still does not give you a power source. If anything slows down the satellite then it will "fall" into a lower and lower orbit. You could have an orbit at the level of the surface of the earth but the same rules still apply.
If your hypothetical wheel experiences any friction (or other resistance) and cannot fall through the track then it would slow to a stop. No free energy in either case.
Well, I was just toying with ideas for using gravitational energy to produce very cheap energy. At least within our global system, gravitational energy is essentially free, right? I mean, in the way that solar energy is essentially free. An existing untapped source of energy within the solar system.

Now you're in the realm of physical possibility. Sure we can use gravity to power things, possibly long enough that we don't care when it runs out, but the system will grind to a halt one way or another eventually. Using falling water to move a generator is the obvious example but eventually you run out of water. Conveniently solar power will move water back up the hill for us quite naturally and for a long time so we're back to "free" if not "infinite" energy.
The important point is that in all cases the best you can do is get enough energy out of a falling object to put it back up wherever it fell from in the first place.
For example, could you (again, theoretically) use the orbit of the moon to generate energy? Say by attaching a rod from the moon to the earth. The rod wouldn't be connected to the earth but would at times pass into the earth's atmosphere and act as a kinetic energy source for a generator. Or am I somehow going to destroy the world by doing this?

You've applied a very small drag to the moon which will very very slowly drag it into a lower and lower orbit. Eventually this would become problematic I'm sure.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby ave_matthew » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:48 am UTC

Kachi wrote:For example, could you (again, theoretically) use the orbit of the moon to generate energy? Say by attaching a rod from the moon to the earth. The rod wouldn't be connected to the earth but would at times pass into the earth's atmosphere and act as a kinetic energy source for a generator. Or am I somehow going to destroy the world by doing this?

I've thought about it before, and the answer is that we already tap the moon for energy via tidal hydroelectric dams like the Annapolis Royal Generating Station. The tides are caused by the moon pulling on the oceans, so this is tapping into the moons gravitational energy, and I believe may eventually lead to tidal lock, but using it won't speed that up anyway.
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Bassoon » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:55 am UTC

CivilDefense700 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
Kdz wrote:Just curious as to whether I should be hopeful of free energy or not. :)


You should not be.

To put it simply, if free energy is possible then every single thing we know about physics is wrong. Everything.


What are you talking about? We already have free energy! It's called SOLAR POWER !!

Although you have to initially invest a lot of money.


That's not free. Current panels are very inefficient, not to mention to energy needed to create a star far outweighs the amount of energy the star ends up putting out. Even if we were to trap all the energy the star puts out, we'd still lose to entropy.

Always remember: you can't beat entropy.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby zealo » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:57 am UTC

how expensive would it be to generate power from the rotation of the earth? would i be correct in assuming this is more efficient at the poles than the equator?
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Robin S » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:00 am UTC

In order to generate power from the rotation of the Earth, you'd have to slow the Earth down. Even slowing it by a small amount could generate quite a lot of energy, but then you don't want to be disrupting the Earth's rotational cycle too much.

Why would anything be more efficient at the poles?
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Kachi » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:31 am UTC

Ah, I guess I was too slow. I was actually going to inquire about Robin's mention of water. I'm not very familiar with the physics of the ocean, but I'd imagine a very large amount of the water is returned not by the sun, but by tidal kinetic energy.

You've applied a very small drag to the moon which will very very slowly drag it into a lower and lower orbit. Eventually this would become problematic I'm sure.


I thought as much, but wouldn't it be feasible that the orbital kinetic energy would be significantly greater than the energy require to reverse the drag? Or at least it'd be possible to only take enough energy that by the time it became problematic, I don't know, the sun would explode. Not that I'm thinking this is practical given the tremendous resources it would take just to arrange something like this.

Ok, so I understand what you're saying about the satellite phenomenon. So an even further stretch, but how about doing it on a more problematic scale, but using another planet & moon within the solar system (so more problematic for that planet, less for us), then feed it to the earth somehow (putting the generator and receiver on the poles, I guess, I don't know).

The only way to get gravitational energy out of something is if it falls from a higher location to a lower location, thus losing some gravitational potential energy - this is converted into kinetic energy, which can be used. However, you can't keep objects falling indefinitely. The only way to keep a wheel rolling around the Earth would be to make sure that it lost no energy from friction, drag etc. This is physically impossible.


Granted I have only a very limited knowledge of physics, I'm not sure I agree in this example. In a closed gravitational atmosphere where the gravity is equally displaced, or at least consistently displaced, couldn't kinetic energy be maintained? As an example, if you have a ball with it's own gravitational pull at the center and you push a marble on that ball, giving it an initial energy, couldn't the downward force of gravity on the ball continually keep the marble in motion along the ball's surface?

Or are these questions that we can't answer yet? Last I heard we don't even really know what gravity is.

That's not free. Current panels are very inefficient, not to mention to energy needed to create a star far outweighs the amount of energy the star ends up putting out. Even if we were to trap all the energy the star puts out, we'd still lose to entropy.


I don't think they meant that it was literally free in terms of physics. We don't really care if it's free-- if we can steal it from another global ecosystem, then it's free to us.

In order to generate power from the rotation of the Earth, you'd have to slow the Earth down. Even slowing it by a small amount could generate quite a lot of energy, but then you don't want to be disrupting the Earth's rotational cycle too much.


I would think you could draw a sizeable amount of energy with minimal effect on the Earth, but it's really more a matter of efficiency, say as compared to the effects of fossil fuels on global warming.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby evilbeanfiend » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:57 am UTC

10-1 he thinks it works because he can't/hasn't accurately measured the power he puts in and/or gets out
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby JayDee » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:48 am UTC

If it's an Australian man, I'm betting that he thinks it works because he's been drinking.
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Arancaytar » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:39 am UTC

Bassoon wrote:That's not free. Current panels are very inefficient, not to mention to energy needed to create a star far outweighs the amount of energy the star ends up putting out. Even if we were to trap all the energy the star puts out, we'd still lose to entropy.

Always remember: you can't beat entropy.


Such greed. Even the tiny sliver of sunlight that hits Earth is vastly more than we would need, if we could capture it. Once we get to Dyson sphere efficiency, this is increased by many orders of magnitude.

It may not be infinite, but by the time it runs out you and anyone who could be said to be your descendant will be long gone. :P
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby zealo » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:13 pm UTC

Robin S wrote:In order to generate power from the rotation of the Earth, you'd have to slow the Earth down. Even slowing it by a small amount could generate quite a lot of energy, but then you don't want to be disrupting the Earth's rotational cycle too much.

Why would anything be more efficient at the poles?

i hadn't thought that through when i asked about the poles thing.
i remember reading that all current electricity needs could be met by rotational energy for less day lengthening than whatever causes the need for leap seconds currently, i don't see it as a major issue.

to draw energy from this you would need a gear that is free to rotate hooked up to a turbine? would the power be dependent on the mass or radius of said turbine? what would you need for say 1 MW of power?
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:01 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:I thought as much, but wouldn't it be feasible that the orbital kinetic energy would be significantly greater than the energy require to reverse the drag? Or at least it'd be possible to only take enough energy that by the time it became problematic, I don't know, the sun would explode. Not that I'm thinking this is practical given the tremendous resources it would take just to arrange something like this.

"Reverse the drag" doesn't make sense. In this sort of example the drag is the result of you gathering energy from the system, if you could counter that and still generate power you would have a free energy machine.
Collecting energy for longer than the expected lifespan of the planet may be just fine. It depends on the orbital system you are using and the engineering details of whatever device you built to harness the available energy. I'll say sure, it could be done and would be as beneficial as an efficient way to harness solar power but it's still not free energy. It will run out eventually, you may just not care by the time it does.
ave_matthew had a good point as well. Depending on the details of the orbital system you are working and how you try to harness the energy involved you might hit a stable state with both objects tidally locked. That is, the satellite would become stationary relative to a point on the ground and you could no longer collect energy from their motion relative to each other.
Ok, so I understand what you're saying about the satellite phenomenon. So an even further stretch, but how about doing it on a more problematic scale, but using another planet & moon within the solar system (so more problematic for that planet, less for us), then feed it to the earth somehow (putting the generator and receiver on the poles, I guess, I don't know).

Within the realm of physical possibility but don't expect me to solve the engineering problems involved in building something like that.
Granted I have only a very limited knowledge of physics, I'm not sure I agree in this example. In a closed gravitational atmosphere where the gravity is equally displaced, or at least consistently displaced, couldn't kinetic energy be maintained? As an example, if you have a ball with it's own gravitational pull at the center and you push a marble on that ball, giving it an initial energy, couldn't the downward force of gravity on the ball continually keep the marble in motion along the ball's surface?

A "closed gravitational atmosphere" doesn't mean anything but I think I see what you are trying to say. If there was no friction between the marble and the ball then yes, the marble would slide over the ball's surface forever. However you could not get it to do any work or provide you with any kind of power without slowing your impossible marble down.
I would think you could draw a sizeable amount of energy with minimal effect on the Earth, but it's really more a matter of efficiency, say as compared to the effects of fossil fuels on global warming.

Sounds probable. The environmental impact of such a fantastic project is a different problem. I'll stick with trying to show that the energy harnessed does come from somewhere and there are side effects. If the impact is so small it can be ignored for eons that's great but not my point.

zealo wrote:to draw energy from this you would need a gear that is free to rotate hooked up to a turbine? would the power be dependent on the mass or radius of said turbine? what would you need for say 1 MW of power?

I think your first problem is that in order to draw power from the Earth's rotation you need something which is not rotating with the earth. Any work you do to slow the Earth's rotation to generate power will also accelerate your gear/generator/whatever until it is rotating with the Earth and can no longer generate energy from the relative motion between the two.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby jmorgan3 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:48 pm UTC

Micron wrote:
zealo wrote:to draw energy from this you would need a gear that is free to rotate hooked up to a turbine? would the power be dependent on the mass or radius of said turbine? what would you need for say 1 MW of power?

I think your first problem is that in order to draw power from the Earth's rotation you need something which is not rotating with the earth. Any work you do to slow the Earth's rotation to generate power will also accelerate your gear/generator/whatever until it is rotating with the Earth and can no longer generate energy from the relative motion between the two.


Couldn't you use ludicrously and impractically large turbines which spin because of the Coriolis effect?
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby EricH » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:38 pm UTC

jmorgan3 wrote:
Micron wrote:
zealo wrote:to draw energy from this you would need a gear that is free to rotate hooked up to a turbine? would the power be dependent on the mass or radius of said turbine? what would you need for say 1 MW of power?

I think your first problem is that in order to draw power from the Earth's rotation you need something which is not rotating with the earth. Any work you do to slow the Earth's rotation to generate power will also accelerate your gear/generator/whatever until it is rotating with the Earth and can no longer generate energy from the relative motion between the two.


Couldn't you use ludicrously and impractically large turbines which spin because of the Coriolis effect?


Yes, but the solar power striking such ludicrously large turbines would dwarf the power that could be harnessed from the Coriolis effect...
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby quintopia » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:39 pm UTC

Bassoon wrote:
CivilDefense700 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
Kdz wrote:Just curious as to whether I should be hopeful of free energy or not. :)


You should not be.

To put it simply, if free energy is possible then every single thing we know about physics is wrong. Everything.


What are you talking about? We already have free energy! It's called SOLAR POWER !!

Although you have to initially invest a lot of money.


That's not free. Current panels are very inefficient, not to mention to energy needed to create a star far outweighs the amount of energy the star ends up putting out. Even if we were to trap all the energy the star puts out, we'd still lose to entropy.

Always remember: you can't beat entropy.


You forgot to mention that panels for converting solar energy to electricity are so inefficient that you actually lose money by buying one. You end up saving money by paying your local EMC for the entire expected lifetime of the panel you don't buy.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Xanthir » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:43 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:
Bassoon wrote:
CivilDefense700 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
Kdz wrote:Just curious as to whether I should be hopeful of free energy or not. :)


You should not be.

To put it simply, if free energy is possible then every single thing we know about physics is wrong. Everything.


What are you talking about? We already have free energy! It's called SOLAR POWER !!

Although you have to initially invest a lot of money.


That's not free. Current panels are very inefficient, not to mention to energy needed to create a star far outweighs the amount of energy the star ends up putting out. Even if we were to trap all the energy the star puts out, we'd still lose to entropy.

Always remember: you can't beat entropy.


You forgot to mention that panels for converting solar energy to electricity are so inefficient that you actually lose money by buying one. You end up saving money by paying your local EMC for the entire expected lifetime of the panel you don't buy.

Interesting, then, that there are entire (largish) businesses built around providing solar power. Perhaps you should go tell them that their business plan is doomed to near-immediate failure?
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:51 pm UTC

jmorgan3 wrote:Couldn't you use ludicrously and impractically large turbines which spin because of the Coriolis effect?

Sure, I don't see why not. To be clear; I'm not trying to suggest that the idea is impossible, just difficult to implement. At least in this case you're not talking about some sort of over-unity energy system.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Kachi » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:41 pm UTC

"Reverse the drag" doesn't make sense. In this sort of example the drag is the result of you gathering energy from the system, if you could counter that and still generate power you would have a free energy machine.


Sorry, I'm not familiar with the terminology (I might have mentioned that I have no formal physics education) so you'll just kind of have to work with me conceptually on this. I assumed that by drag you were referring to the moon being pulled closer to the earth, not drag on the rotation of the moon itself or drag on the moon's orbit around the earth. My point was that in this incredibly bizarre example, enough energy might be created from the orbital/rotational energy of the moon that it would be greater than the amount needed to reverse the effects. As for orbital/rotational drag on the moon, I wouldn't imagine that would be a real problem.

I'll stick with trying to show that the energy harnessed does come from somewhere and there are side effects. If the impact is so small it can be ignored for eons that's great but not my point.


So we're clear, I understand that by all known physics, free energy is impossible. There's an important distinction between technically free energy and practically free energy, and I'm talking about the latter. I'm talking about siphoning energy from natural earth forces, or from outerplanetary sources, for industrial use, not necessarily increasing the earth's net energy.

A "closed gravitational atmosphere" doesn't mean anything but I think I see what you are trying to say. If there was no friction between the marble and the ball then yes, the marble would slide over the ball's surface forever. However you could not get it to do any work or provide you with any kind of power without slowing your impossible marble down.


Ok, good, then at least we're on the same page. So, realizing that you can't get the marble to do any work for you without slowing it down, could you not conceivably obtain more energy from the marble's work than required to start the marble's initial motion? i.e., netting some of the energy from the initial force as you normally would, but also netting energy from gravity's effect on the marble? The idea is not to keep the marble moving forever, but to extract energy from gravity acting on the marble.

Now put this example on a larger, semi- more realistic scale. Instead of a marble on a ball, it's a large wheel connected to some kind of a generator on a small planet. Can you extract more energy from rolling the wheel "around" the planet than it takes to begin motion due to this effect? That is, as you've noted, the problem with gravitational energy is that generally you get to the bottom and then have to spend energy to get to the top. Well, this wheel is never going up-- it's always going "down," just like the marble was always rolling down the ball. For every bit of forward kinetic energy used to move the ball, couldn't you also leech on the downward gravitational energy? You'd have to keep applying forward energy, I know, but the question is could you get more energy out of it than you, yourself, put in?

Bear in mind that I'm not suggesting that I know what I'm talking about and that this should definitely work.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:19 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:I assumed that by drag you were referring to the moon being pulled closer to the earth, not drag on the rotation of the moon itself or drag on the moon's orbit around the earth. My point was that in this incredibly bizarre example, enough energy might be created from the orbital/rotational energy of the moon that it would be greater than the amount needed to reverse the effects. As for orbital/rotational drag on the moon, I wouldn't imagine that would be a real problem.
I was talking about actual drag on the orbital velocity of the moon. It turns out that the velocity of a satellite is directly related to its orbital radius so slowing it down causes it to "fall" a little bit closer to the object it is orbiting. Much like the other cases we've discussed it is also true that the kinetic energy lost by slowing down is exactly equal to the gravitational potential energy lost by moving to a lower orbit.
If it helps you visualize the problem try to picture a satellite traveling above a planet. It has to move "sideways" fast enough that it is always the same distance from the surface, since the surface curves away underneath it. Now what if the satellite started moving twice as fast? It would travel twice as far as it falls and would be moving farther and farther away from the surface, effectively "up" away from the planet. However at some point you would reach a height where the arc your satellite travels over the planet every second is the same length as it was at the old, slower, speed. The satellite is moving faster now but is once again matching the curvature of the planet since it is at a higher orbit. You'll see the opposite happen if you were to slow the satellite down instead, it will "fall" into a lower orbit (unless it hits the surface). Sorry if that doesn't make for a particularly clear example.
Now in a practical case there can be an enormous amount of energy involved so you might be able to gather lots of power this way without noticeably affecting the orbit of the satellite but it will slow down and have a lower orbit and you will not be able to change that back without spending at least as much energy as you gathered from it.
Ok, good, then at least we're on the same page. So, realizing that you can't get the marble to do any work for you without slowing it down, could you not conceivably obtain more energy from the marble's work than required to start the marble's initial motion? i.e., netting some of the energy from the initial force as you normally would, but also netting energy from gravity's effect on the marble?

Nope. The ball moving in a circle might just be adding confusion to the problem. Instead imagine our frictionless ball on a perfectly flat and infinite road where gravity always pulls straight down. No matter how far down the road you push the ball, or how fast you get it moving gravity never does any work on it, its elevation never changes so its gravitational potential energy never changes, and there's no way you can gather energy from it. The only change in the ball's energy is the work you do to get it moving or to stop it. If gravity were doing some kind of work on the ball that you could harness that would mean that it could start to accelerate on its own, without you pushing it, or heat up, or somehow else gain energy just sitting there.
The only way you get a change in energy due to gravity is if you change your elevation in the gravitational field and there's no way to do that for free. I'm sure we could come up with exotic ideas like "what if you increased the mass of the planet and collected the resulting increase in energy" but that doesn't exactly fit into our understanding of physics.

The first idea is a large but limited source of energy that while perhaps infeasible could potentially be harnessed. The second case would imply a perpetual motion machine and is just not an option.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Xanthir » Thu May 01, 2008 1:02 am UTC

Kachi wrote:Now put this example on a larger, semi- more realistic scale. Instead of a marble on a ball, it's a large wheel connected to some kind of a generator on a small planet. Can you extract more energy from rolling the wheel "around" the planet than it takes to begin motion due to this effect? That is, as you've noted, the problem with gravitational energy is that generally you get to the bottom and then have to spend energy to get to the top. Well, this wheel is never going up-- it's always going "down," just like the marble was always rolling down the ball. For every bit of forward kinetic energy used to move the ball, couldn't you also leech on the downward gravitational energy? You'd have to keep applying forward energy, I know, but the question is could you get more energy out of it than you, yourself, put in?

It *is* going up, though, where "up" is defined as "to a higher gravipotential plane". If you are orbiting around a spherical body, straight-line motion tangent to the surface (starting on the surface) increases your distance from the gravitational center of the body. You are thus increasing your potential energy, and this requires at least as much energy expended as you are increasing by. Gravity can then pull you back down, but you will merely be converting your potential energy into an equal or less amount of kinetic energy. Two transactions, both limited to at most breaking even.
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby jmorgan3 » Thu May 01, 2008 3:20 am UTC

EricH wrote:
jmorgan3 wrote:
Micron wrote:
zealo wrote:to draw energy from this you would need a gear that is free to rotate hooked up to a turbine? would the power be dependent on the mass or radius of said turbine? what would you need for say 1 MW of power?

I think your first problem is that in order to draw power from the Earth's rotation you need something which is not rotating with the earth. Any work you do to slow the Earth's rotation to generate power will also accelerate your gear/generator/whatever until it is rotating with the Earth and can no longer generate energy from the relative motion between the two.


Couldn't you use ludicrously and impractically large turbines which spin because of the Coriolis effect?


Yes, but the solar power striking such ludicrously large turbines would dwarf the power that could be harnessed from the Coriolis effect...


Good point. The turbines will be ludicrously mirrored as well.
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Mabus_Zero » Thu May 01, 2008 6:25 am UTC

So....where's my Tokamak, guys? Besides spooky environmentalists that overstate mankind's impact on the natural environment, what's preventing the completion of ITER and other Atomic Fusion Reactors, among our other as-close-to-prepetual-energy-as-possible Engines of Doom?
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby miles01110 » Thu May 01, 2008 1:40 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:Interesting, then, that there are entire (largish) businesses built around providing solar power. Perhaps you should go tell them that their business plan is doomed to near-immediate failure?


Because those business are just that- largish. There's a point where profit outweighs cost. That point is usually beyond the reach of the "entry-level" hippi....err, consumer.

Maybe we should start injecting ourselves with chloroplasts! Then we could just cut out the middleman.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Øsse » Thu May 01, 2008 4:17 pm UTC

About the moon-thing: Isn't the moon actually moving away from us? Then I guess (far in the future) we could manipulate it's orbit just a little bit, if we somehow managed to extract usable energy (wow, I'm cool, or have I completely misunderstood?) from it.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu May 01, 2008 4:31 pm UTC

like a tidal power generator for instance?
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Øsse » Thu May 01, 2008 4:43 pm UTC

Ahh, are you trying to trap me and then laught at me? :P

I was think in a larger futuristic scale, as Kachi did.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby zealo » Thu May 01, 2008 5:29 pm UTC

Micron wrote:
zealo wrote:to draw energy from this you would need a gear that is free to rotate hooked up to a turbine? would the power be dependent on the mass or radius of said turbine? what would you need for say 1 MW of power?

I think your first problem is that in order to draw power from the Earth's rotation you need something which is not rotating with the earth. Any work you do to slow the Earth's rotation to generate power will also accelerate your gear/generator/whatever until it is rotating with the Earth and can no longer generate energy from the relative motion between the two.


i was suggesting using the coriolis effect to extract energy. this (from my understanding) will not stop producing power because it 'speeds up'? i assume that the 'generator' (large cog) will rotate once every 24 hours with no load? i don't know how to calculate the power you get out of it though (how ridiculous are we talking?), hence my question, which no one answered.. :(
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Micron » Thu May 01, 2008 6:21 pm UTC

zealo wrote:i was suggesting using the coriolis effect to extract energy. this (from my understanding) will not stop producing power because it 'speeds up'?

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that. I don't think you can use the coriolis effect as a power source because it is not a real force, it only appears when you are in a rotating reference frame. If you are just talking about using large scale atmospheric effects to drive a turbine then that may be possible but then I think you're really talking about harnessing solar power through the wind it generates.
If I understand your suggestion is might be feasible but I do not think it works because of the reasoning you are using.

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Kachi » Thu May 01, 2008 9:47 pm UTC

About the moon-thing: Isn't the moon actually moving away from us? Then I guess (far in the future) we could manipulate it's orbit just a little bit, if we somehow managed to extract usable energy (wow, I'm cool, or have I completely misunderstood?) from it.


I was just going to ask the same thing.

But perhaps there are other factors to consider. Such as, if the earth were moving further away from the sun, the moon moving further away from the earth might have a natural balance that it might be upsetting. Hell, I know less about astrophysics than I do regular physics.

Instead imagine our frictionless ball on a perfectly flat and infinite road where gravity always pulls straight down. No matter how far down the road you push the ball, or how fast you get it moving gravity never does any work on it, its elevation never changes so its gravitational potential energy never changes, and there's no way you can gather energy from it.


But a sphere has slope all around it. It's not flat, so it's not really an analogous example, is it?

It *is* going up, though, where "up" is defined as "to a higher gravipotential plane". If you are orbiting around a spherical body, straight-line motion tangent to the surface (starting on the surface) increases your distance from the gravitational center of the body. You are thus increasing your potential energy, and this requires at least as much energy expended as you are increasing by. Gravity can then pull you back down, but you will merely be converting your potential energy into an equal or less amount of kinetic energy. Two transactions, both limited to at most breaking even.


Technically, it would be equidistant, right? But I meant to illustrate that it would be the same effect as a ball rolling down a hill that never ends (if that's correct). On all other points, I couldn't follow you at all. :lol:

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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby Xanthir » Fri May 02, 2008 12:33 am UTC

Kachi wrote:
Micron wrote:Instead imagine our frictionless ball on a perfectly flat and infinite road where gravity always pulls straight down. No matter how far down the road you push the ball, or how fast you get it moving gravity never does any work on it, its elevation never changes so its gravitational potential energy never changes, and there's no way you can gather energy from it.

But a sphere has slope all around it. It's not flat, so it's not really an analogous example, is it?

No, it's perfectly analogous. A sphere is *locally* flat. As well, there's no 'slope'. (Assuming a perfect uniform sphere) gravity is always perpendicular to the surface, so that no matter where you are, gravity is just pushing you toward the center of the ball, not to one side.
Kachi wrote:
Xanthir wrote:It *is* going up, though, where "up" is defined as "to a higher gravipotential plane". If you are orbiting around a spherical body, straight-line motion tangent to the surface (starting on the surface) increases your distance from the gravitational center of the body. You are thus increasing your potential energy, and this requires at least as much energy expended as you are increasing by. Gravity can then pull you back down, but you will merely be converting your potential energy into an equal or less amount of kinetic energy. Two transactions, both limited to at most breaking even.

Technically, it would be equidistant, right? But I meant to illustrate that it would be the same effect as a ball rolling down a hill that never ends (if that's correct). On all other points, I couldn't follow you at all. :lol:

No, it's not equidistant. You're on the ball. You are exactly r meters from the center, where r is the radius of the ball. You move in a perfectly straight line tangent to the surface. You are now floating above the surface of the ball, and are r+x meters from the center.

You're confused somewhat on just where gravity is pointing. A ball rolls down a slope because gravity *isn't* perpendicular with the surface. At least some of gravity's force vector is pointed slightly to one side (down the slope), so the ball travels that way. On a uniform sphere, however, gravity always points *down*, perfectly perpendicular with the surface. Thus, you don't move due to gravity. Actually draw a diagram for yourself, and at any point where you think the ball should begin rolling 'down the sphere', decide just what way you think gravity is pointing. Does the arrow you have for gravity pierce the center of the sphere? If not, try again, because that's the center of gravity for the sphere.
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Re: Australian man claims perpetual motion machine

Postby zealo » Fri May 02, 2008 10:29 am UTC

I don't think you can use the coriolis effect as a power source because it is not a real force, it only appears when you are in a rotating reference frame.

the earth's surface is not a rotating reference frame?
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