Monday, 23 September 2013
Levers, Weights and Perpetual Motion Wheels
When I began my research into Bessler's wheel, 50 odd years ago (!), I used paper, pencil, ruler compasses and a protractor, not much has changed; I still prefer doing the initial design on paper before recording it on my computer.
My first thoughts were to try to design a way of making the weights keep further from the centre of rotation, or try to get more of them on one side than the other - and that is pretty well the same thing today - that the vast majority of people try to achieve.
But, as I progressed by trial and error - mainly error - one of the mistakes I made many years ago involved the different effects experienced by a lever with a weight on one end, a pendulum if you like, when attached to a wheel. I'm sure that most people are aware of this simple phenomenon, but as I still get designs emailed to me which ignore this effect, I thought it useful to describe it here.
A pendulum whether swinging or stationary, applies its weight to the pivot. In other words, gravity pulls down on the weight and the pull is experienced at the pivot. For the sake of this argument I ignore other pulls experienced by the pendulum when swinging. One of the typical features of perpetual motion designs includes the use of these weighted levers.
Consider this; a lever with a weight on one end is attached to a pivot mounted at some place on the wheel, say half way between the centre and the rim. When the wheel is stationary the pendulum hangs straight down, and its weight is experienced at the pivot. If the wheel is slowly rotated, the lever remains hanging from the pivot while it counter-rotates relative to the wheel, and the weight of the pendulum is still born by the pivot and felt at that point.
If a stop is placed in the path of the counter-rotating pendulum, and this will inevitably be part of the design, then the pendulum is prevented from further motion relative to the wheel; the pull of weight is no longer experienced at the pivot but is then moved to the position on the wheel occupied by the weight.
This means that the pull from the weight has moved across the face of the wheel at the the instant that the pendulum comes up against the stop.
Should the wheel be rotated by hand until the pendulum is able to fall again, its weight during the fall, is negligible because it is in free fall and the pivot does not bear the weight and neither does the wheel, so the wheel has lost that portion of its total weight - until, that is, the weight hangs vertically again from its pivot.
So the position in which the weight is supported, or experienced, and where it affects the wheel, moves between the pivot itself and the weight where ever it happens to be relative to the wheel and, for a brief moment, no weight at all, as it falls.
There are several problems which arise when the design calls for the pendulum to do something which doesn't take into account these features and I'd like to have run through some, but time, space and falling reader attention combine to persuade me otherwise.
Of course this all changes if the falling pendulum is designed to do work as it falls - and that's a whole new can of worms!
I should perhaps have included drawings to illustrate this, but the clock is always against me.
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