Saturday, 25 October 2014

Back from Spain and almost missed Gonzalo!

My apologies for not responding to any comments.  I've been in Spain for a couple of weeks and was unable to comment although I did read all of them.  The weather was perfect, wall-to-wall sunshine temperature always around 28 C or 82 F.  Plenty of the juice for those who like to occasionally imbibe the fruit of the grape (and I do!) - occasional being daily of course.  I read that the hurricane would have petered out by the time it came to England so it was something of a surprise to learn that most of an 60 foot tree had landed in our front garden!

When I returned this morning and discovered that a tree had fallen into our front garden, narrowly missing the house I was just thankful that I left my car at the airport and that no one was in the drive or driving past when it fell.

View of tree before it was removed, thanks to local Warwickshire News.  Three other trees fell due to the effects of the tail-end of hurricane Gonzalo and three people did die when trees fell on them

Below is a photo I took from near our house of  the avenue a year ago; they always replace fallen trees in the avenue  There are 116 trees in total so it's quite a task to look after them.  You can see a tree which had been replaced because its predecessor had fallen in the Spring last year.  The trees are about 60 foot tall and I'll know how old they are when I've got around to counting the rings on the fallen one!  They are lime trees and have been up for a long time, but they sometimes fall when the wind is gusting over to 70 mph.

Anyway back to Bessler with my next post.  Those occasional flashes of inspiration we all get from time to time, hit me while I was away and I have a change of opinion to tell you about but nothing too dramatic!




  1. Sorry about that John,
    it's all the fossil fuel we're using here in the Caribbean, it affects the weather you know.
    Seriously, it's a shame, St. Lucia is a volcanic island, but no geothermal energy generated.
    No bio-diesel from coconut oil, they closed the coconut refinery due to lack of sales.
    They only used it for cooking, but with a little tweak, they could power all the trucks.
    No ethanol from sugar cane, since banana sales have dropped, due to some ruling by the W.T.O.
    changing to sugar cane would be an ideal solution for the local farmers.
    Anyway, we live in hope.

  2. Replies
    1. John,
      only a few in ruins, there is talk about a wind farm, but there's some dispute about where to put it.
      I don't know what would happen if a real big hurricane was to strike any of the pylons.

      Here's something to check out though, Rick Cavallaro's Blackbird land yacht,
      it was built to prove physicists wrong, it can travel down wind nearly three times faster than the wind blowing it !

  3. Nice area you live in, John. I, too, had a "foliage" experience a few years ago. We had a bad storm one night and I heard a loud crash outside but ignored it and rolled over to return to sleep. Next morning I opened the front door and suddenly got hit in the face by leaves from the top of a 60 foot tall tree that was previously standing near my driveway. Fortunately, our town has a cleanup service for such disasters. However, I have about two dozen trees on my property and when one of them crashes down, I have to dispose of it. I usually cut it up myself with my trusty chainsaw and then cart the pieces 300 feet to the back where I let them naturally decay away. Takes about five years for them to fully disintegrate.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about the matter of how fast it took the Merseberg wheel to accelerate to its maximum unloaded running speed which was stated as being between 40 and 50 rpm's. I realized that I should be able to fairly accurately determine this even without first solving the Bessler wheel mystery because I already have a very good idea of the start up torque of the wheel and what its overall mass was. I'll see if I can make a quick wm2d model with these parameters and then run it while graphing its speed. That will give me a good estimate of how many seconds it took the real thing to reach its maximum speed.

    I still haven't gotten around to the final testing of my latest design for Bessler's wheels. I'm taking a break for the weekend so I can catch up on another project that I've been doing while working on the wheel. It's a book manuscript I need to finish up by this coming March so I can get it off to the publisher. I'm about 2/3 through it at this point. I wish it was a volume on Bessler's wheels, but that was not meant to be this year.

  4. I found some time this afternoon and decided to see if I could estimate the time it took the Merseberg wheel to reach a maximum free running speed of 40 rpm's. The results surprised me! I'm sure that the starting torque was about 40 in-lbs and my best guess for the total mass of the axle, drum, levers, pivots, weights, etc. is about 372 lbs. Since the wheel only has maximum torque upon startup and this drops nearly to zero torque due to the effects of centrifugal forces acting on the weights at its maximum rotation speed, I used an average constant value of 20 in-lbs for the torque applied to the model.

    Incredibily, according to the wm2d model I made, the Merseberg wheel would have needed about 10 minutes to reach its maximum running speed! I'm going to recheck my model to see if I made an error anywhere with the figures. If not, then I'm going to reread all of the references to the speed of the wheel to see if, possibly, they were mistranslated or, if accurately translated, if they have been taken out of their proper context. Like I mentioned in John's last blog: expect the unexpected!

    1. I tried posting this addendum earlier today, but it would not go through for some reason. Anyway, I made a quick and dirty wm2d model to see just how long the Merseberg wheel would take to accelerate up to its maximum free running speed of about 40 rpm's. The results were a shock to me.

      My best estimate for the startup and greatest torque acting on its axle is about 40 in-lbs. My best estimate for its total mass is 372 lbs. Since the torque drops to near zero when the wheel is running at its maximum unloaded speed, I decided to use an average torque of 20 in-lbs and see how long it would take for the wheel to reach 40 rpm's.

      Incredibly, it took about 10 minutes for the wheel to reach its terminal rotation speed and that was with the air drag set at zero. I'm now in the process of reviewing all of the quotes that tell anything about how fast Bessler's wheels accelerated to see if there are any mistranslations present or if the quotes related to this matter were taken out of context. I've already checked out the model wheel to see if I inputted any erroneous values into it that could account for such a long acceleration time and, so far, can find nothing wrong with it.

    2. Sorry for the reply above which is basically the same as the post to which it's replying. Something went amiss during the posting yesterday. Might have been caused by me fiddling with the download permissions on this site in an attempt to stop so many cookies and adware from being put on my hard drive. John, feel free to delete my reply above and this explanation.

  5. Here are some quotes describing the motion of Bessler's wheels:

    For the Merseberg wheel:

    "The machine was started by a very light push with just two fingers and accelerated as soon as one of the weights, hidden inside, began to fall. Within about one revolution, the machine had acquired a strong and even rotation..."

    "The machine regained its strong, even and fast rotation each time. "

    "The inventor started it with the merest little effort. As soon as just one of the internal weights began to fall, the machine started to revolve with such strength that it turned forty of more times a minute, and could only be stopped with great difficulty..."

    "Then the machine, now on another support, was started again by an equally gentle push, as described above, and again attained the same fast acceleration."

    "At the moment it can lift a weight of sixty pounds, but to achieve this the pulley had to be reduced more than four times, making the lifting quite slow."

    For the Kassel wheel:

    "We carefully observed each and everything We saw and, with Our own hands, We brought to rest the machine We had seen revolving at exactly its original speed. With little effort required, and without the assistance of the inventor We set the machine in motion once more."

    "...but also found the Orffyrean Perpetuum Mobile to be continuing just as before in its uninterrupted motion."

    "But to my astonishment I observed that the rapidity of the wheel augmented little by little until it had made two turns, and then it regained its former speed, until I observed by my watch that it made the same twenty-six turns a minute as before, when acting freely..."

    "This experiment, Sir, showing the rapidity of the wheel augmenting from the very slow movement I gave it, to an extraordinary rapid one, convinces me more that if I had seen the wheel moving for a whole year, which would not have persuaded me that it was perpetual motion, because it might have diminished little by little until it ceased altogether; but to gain speed instead of losing it, and to increase that speed to a certain degree in spite of the resistance of air and the friction of the axles, I do not see how anyone can doubt the truth of this action."

    " When I turned it but gently, it always stood still as soon as I took my hand away. But when I gave it any tolerable degree of velocity, I was always obliged to stop it again by force; for when I let it go, it acquired in two or three turns its greatest velocity, after which it revolved at twenty-five or twenty-six times a minute." (In a letter from Willem Jacob 'sGravesande to Sir Isaac Newton dated 1721.)

    I've rechecked my wm2d model for the Merseberg wheel and there are no errors in it. It suggests that with an average torque of about 20 in-lbs it should have taken the wheel a full 10 minutes to accelerate up to 40 rpm's. Even if we assume its mechanisms resisted the disabling effects of centrifugal force on the lever shifting process and the torque remained closer to 40 in-lbs throughout most of the acceleration, then it might have reached 40 rpm's in only 5 minutes.

    From the quotes above I only see one that tends to refute these slow accelerations up to a wheel's maximum terminal velocity while running freely. It's the last quote by 'sGravesande in his letter to Newton in which he says "...for when I let it go, it acquired in two or three turns its greatest velocity, after which it revolved at twenty-five or twenty-six times a minute."

    Since the Kassel wheel 'sGravesande tested probably had a higher torque than the Merseberg wheel, possibly, it could have accelerated up to 26 rpm's in less than 5 minutes with it requiring only 2 or 3 turns to do that. However, I am not convinced that this was the case with the Merseberg wheel and I see nothing in the quotes for it that suggest it did not need at least 5 minutes to reach its maximum free running rotation speed of about 40 rpm's.

    1. I managed to make a quick wm2d model of the Kassel wheel. My best guess for its weight is 614 lbs. Since I believe it was intended to produce twice the torque of the less powerful Merseberg wheel, I gave the Kassel wheel a constant torque of 80 in-lbs. My testing of the model shows that it could have reached a rotation speed of 26 rpm's in about 3 minutes time, but it required 38 complete rotations to do this. Obviously, if the torque decreased as the wheel accelerated, then it would have required more than 3 minutes and 38 rotations to reach its maximum free running speed.

  6. Off topic ?

    1. Bizarre, but it shows what can happen when complex motions are "coordinated" (in this case via a crankshaft). Notice that the device does not actually walk on its own, but, rather, when pushed, it simply moves its legs along so that it does not trip over itself. Bessler's wheels, imo, were heavily dependent upon the coordination of their various levers. In the case of Bessler's wheels, however, the coordination was achieved through the use of ropes that interconnected its levers. Who knows...once we can build Bessler's wheels, it might even be possible to redesign the device in the video so that it can walk by itself and do so perpetually!


The True Story of Bessler’s Perpetual Motion Machine - Update

At the end of March we sold our house and moved in with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, expecting to be there for no more than tw...