Friday 26 February 2010

Why Bessler's wheel was able to accelerate to full speed in three turns.

Further to my last blog,I posted my thoughts on forum, about something that to me seemed to be illogical; the fact that the torque appeared to be greater for a one inch movement horizontally on a smaller wheel than on a larger one - and in the process found myself corrected. The torque itself remains the same but the acceleration of the overbalancing effect due to a one inch difference between the two positions horizontally, is greater on a smaller wheel than on a larger one - or when the action takes place closer to the axle. So although my means of getting there was wrong my conclusions were correct.

I had compared the speed of reaction on two rods balanced on a pivot at their mid-point. One rod was two foot long and the other was six foot long. In each case the same weights were attached, one at the end of the rod, the other, two inches inwards towards the centre of rotation, at the other end. The torque was the same in each case but the shorter rod accelerated into its unbalanced position much quicker. This suggested to me that, with the limited range of movement available from my mechanism, it would be react to imbalance more quickly if I placed the weight as close as possible to the axle.

This may explain why Bessler's wheel accelerated to full speed in just three turns - because although the weights moved a small amount, they did so close to the centre of the wheel rather than near the edge. I believe that this is a useful piece of information and one that is generally ignored or perhaps people are unaware of its significance. I certainly didn't consider it of any importance, but when I found I was limited by space for the mechanisms and sought a way around it, this fact supplied not only the solution to the problem but will, I believe, also deliver an improved reaction to the movement of the weight.


Sunday 21 February 2010

Was Bessler's mechanism design counter-intuitive?

I got back to the workshop again yesterday, despite the snow, and made some adjustments to the mechanism. The reason being that while I was kept indoors by a chest infection I kept thinking about the reasons why, in my opinion, Bessler's wheel worked, and at the same time, wondering why none of us had ever thought of the solution. I realised that although the solution is simple enough and we see the principle in operation every day, how you can make use of it is not so easy to work out. As if this did not make the solution harder to find, it was extremely difficult to get the mechanism right because, I discovered during my days off, that the way I had designed it to work was incorrect in one very important detail - a design feature which requires some counter-intuitive thinking.

Even the simple arrangement of two weights diametrically opposite each other on a free-wheeling disc, can, under certain circumstances, give rise to incorrect weight placement when designed to overbalance the wheel. I called this counter-intuitive for good reason. I have only just worked out why Bessler showed some of the mechanisms the way he did, not because they were deliberately done that way to confuse but because that was the correct design for them. I'll explain what I mean in more detail at in a day or so. But for now I have to work to catch up on the time lost recently.


Tuesday 16 February 2010

A vertical or horizontal axis gravity-driven wheel

I was thinking about the fact that windmills can operate in the wind with either vertical of horizontal axes. The axle can either be in-line with the force of the wind or across its path. The same thing applies to water-driven wheels too. Over-shot and under-shot water wheels have an axle which lies across the path of the water. Water turbines have their axle in line with the flow of water. I have from time to time attempted to design a gravity wheel which would have a vertical axis, looking somewhat like the vertical axis windmill that Bessler was building when he died. I have never been able to find a theoretical solution to this problem and yet it seems to me that it ought to be possible.

I hadn't mused upon this question for some considerable time and inevitable my thoughts turned to my current understanding of the principle which works Bessler's wheel and I realised that for the first time I could visualise a workable system using the same principle for a horizontal gravity wheel. I will not be making one soon, as I have to finish my basic model which has had to await my recovery from a secondary infection I got after my cold the other week. But it seems to me that this might be a method of discovering if anyone else's design will work. If it can be converted to work with either a horizontal axis or a vertical one then it just might be the real thing.


Wednesday 10 February 2010

A film about Bessler and my life researching him

Since my lung operation in november 2008, I hadn't caught even a sniffle, and that's as well because they warned me never to catch anything ever again! Unfortunately, having managed to stay clear of infection for over a year, since I caught a bad cold on or about Boxing day just gone (2009), I have been having one cold after another and I can't seem to shift it. My wife thinks it's because I spend too much time in my cold old workshop, but actually I wish I could be there for longer, so I can finish the wheel. Now we are back to the arctic conditions and there is no way I can spend any time there even with my faithfull old patio heater. And that's another story. The problem with the heater is that it roasts the top of my head and allows my nether regions to develop icicles - nasty!

Anyway I received an email from a couple of guys who are into film production and they have decided that they want to do a documentary on Bessler and my search for the truth about him. They came here about eighteen months ago and interviewed me on film for about half a day, but since I hadn't heard much from them I thought the project had died. Now however they have time and the project has been revived and they have asked me to write a film script for the documentary.

I've never done one before but I am using the texts of such programs as 'Horizon' and 'Cutting Edge'and similar documentaries as a guide so that I have some idea of how to proceed. I guess that there will be considerable editing to do before it gets the go-ahead. We want to include animations and also visit some of the places where certain events in Bessler's life occurred. Because it is also about my search it will have to be slanted to my perspective which I like - and I may get to do the voice over. Of course it might never get off the ground - unless I produce a working version! Lets hope this cold weather warms up real quick.


Friday 5 February 2010

I'm 65 today!

I'm 65 today! I can now officially retire...except that I already did so a few years ago. On such a day I am allowing myself a little frivolity and I tried to write a limerick about me for my birthday, but I haven't managed it yet so here's one I wrote about Johann Bessler.

There once was a guy called Orffyreus,
Whose claims were regarded as spurious
He said with some levity
plus a morsel of gravity
The spins of his wheel were continuous!

And if that isn't enough here's one I did earlier:

There once was a guy called Orffyreus
Whose invention, they said, was ingenious.
He created a wheel
but would not reveal
What made it spin so continuous.

I shall of course return to my wheel work and sobriety tomorrow.


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