Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bessler's Wheel could be a powerful Prime Mover.

The question of how much power might be available from Bessler's wheels is often raised and I'd like to argue (again) that those who suggest the wheel may have little useful power are wrong in their assumption.

Bessler's first wheel was only four and a half feet wide by 4 inches thick and he had to respond to the criticism that it was too small to be of any use.  His last two wheels, the Merseberg and the Kassel, measured twelve feet in diameter by one foot, and one and a half foot in thickness, respectively.  The fact that people thought the Gera wheel was too small suggests that they believed that increasing the size would increase its power - a logical assumption and obviously one that Bessler agreed with

The first wheel was a proof of principle one, and probably the largest he could afford to make at the time.  The later, Merseberg wheel, turned at 40 rpm, but the Kassel wheel at only 26 rpm.  Bessler said that he "could make my wheel go really slowly, with a gentle rhythm, and it would still be able to raise even greater weights!"  The Kassel wheel was designed to turn more slowly than the Merseberg one because he wished to arrange for an endurance test of one month at least and there would be less wear on a slower turning wheel and yet it was able to raise the same seventy pound weight despite the slower speed, supporting his claim which was made some three years before the Kassel wheel was built.

In the case of the Merseburg wheel, Professor Christian Wolff commented on the use of pulleys about which he said, "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." The official certificate issued, described the weight as being seventy pounds and no mention was made of the four-fold pulley, I wonder if the reason for the use of the pulleys was to slow down the lift to make it last longer, just to impress.  So perhaps no pulleys were actually necessary?

If we take the Merseburg wheel for example, say the axle was six inches in diameter and the wheel turned at 40 rpm and the distance from the outside yard to roof, some fifty feet.  The circumference of the axle was close to 19 inches.  With the rope wrapped around the axle, one rotation lifted the rope just over a foot and a half, fifty foot would take just over 30 seconds. Using pulleys to reduce the load would extend the time to perhaps a couple of minutes, just about long enough for all the spectators, of which there were said to be many crowded into the room, to view the lifting process, through the two windows.

The Kassel wheel turned at 26 rpm but was able to lift the same weight as the Merseburg wheel.  It was, however six inches thicker than the Merseburg wheel and I suggest it was wider to accommodate additional weight to compensate for its slow rotation.  This supports Bessler's claim that he could manipulate the internal design to supply different speeds and load capabilities.

So the visitors and Bessler himself, saw the wheel as having the potential to be made more powerful either by increasing the number or size of the weights, or by reconfiguring the internal mechanisms.  

In Apologia Poetica Bessler answers the following question thus; "Could I undertake to construct even larger wheels - and to what size do I think they could be taken?”
Answer - with the help of good assistants I would have thought that something well over 20 ells in diameter would be possible, should anyone think such a thing desirable, and if the Lord should grant me the necessary strength and health." 

Twenty ells equals about 37 feet!  Imagine how much power you'd get from a wheel that big, and then multiply the number of them by, say ten on a single axle, and then tell me that Bessler's wheel will be useless because it is incapable of supplying enough power to be of any use.

It seems obvious to me that building a wheel capable or turning in either direction is clever but not practical.  The first two wheels which were one-way, began to spin spontaneously as soon as their brake was released and were capable of 50 rpm and I suspect would probably do more given the skills of modern engineering.  Add in the increase in size, weights and the improvements of configuration possible once the design is understood, and then add more wheels to each axle and you could potentially have a powerful electricity generator.

JC
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24 comments:

  1. I use a pulley assisted mechanical advantage of 5:1 when determining the lifting power of the Merseberg wheel. That is, the wheel could only lift 60 lbs *continuously* with the use of the pulley system. Without them it could only lift about 13 lbs or so continuously directly from its axle. However, it could probably have lifted 100 lbs or more directly from its axle using the flywheel effect after it had reached its maximum unloaded terminal speed. Such a demonstration is impressive, but it will inevitably cause the wheel to decelerate and eventually stop with the deceleration rate increasing in proportion to the mass of the weight lifted.

    In principle, all of Bessler's claims about the potential power of his wheels was accurate. But, who would build a wheel 37 feet in diameter and then put 10 of them on a massive axle just to equal the power output of a much smaller and less expensive to construct and maintain water wheel? In principle, one could also construct a single giant lever to lift a mountain and move it, but it's much easier and far less expensive to use dynamite and cranes to move it!

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    1. Ken, I had no intention of suggesting that a 37 foot wheel should be used to power a house. I was simply pointing out the potential, given that we know nothing about the actual power available in the very narrow wheels that we know of. I pointed out the possibilities, such as several wheels in series or different configurations which might be possible once we know the secret.

      I'm fed up with people opining that the wheel will be of no practical use when no one knows what that potential may be. I simply do not see the point of disparaging the wheel when we have no idea of its potential. Once we have one, then you can dismiss it all you like, but for now lets be positive and assume that it has great potential.

      JC

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    2. Bessler infiormed someone/anyone/everyone to purchase his wheel first and then if they cared to, make wagers on its performance . It is really too bad that the money never changed hands . I am sure that his invention will still be in use today .

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    3. @John. I can agree with you to extent that we will only know the full potential of Bessler's design after we are reasonable sure that we have it. All I can really say at this point in time is that the evidence of its performance so far revealed does not impress me that much although, of course, the fact that such a pm wheel is physically possible and was constructed does still impress me very, very much. It's my hope that, once his secret mechanics is known, we'll then be able to greatly improve upon it. With modern computer aided design I do believe that the torque of one of Bessler's imbalanced wheels could be greatly improved and then it might become a "useful" source of power for certain applications. Meanwhile, I keep my focus on that first crucial step: determining with "reasonable" certainty what was the design he found and used.

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  2. I also often had thoughts about how powerful could be a gravity wheel while still being practical in everyday life. Not too large, not too heavy and made of affordable but tough materials - for a long mechanical lifetime and almost maintenance-free, ideally. I imagine such wheels are installed in every basement of a house. With a diameter of an average adult. But an outer drum is not really neseccary, just the basic parts for driving the shaft, for maximum efficiency. Multiple driver mechanisms on one shaft for more power, of course. The whole machinery should fit in a boxroom, in a little bit more spacious variant. I think, then this could produce enough power to be really useful but for being the only source of supply - I'm not sure.

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  3. I looked into this in the past but maybe someone could comment here. Would the H.P. of two 10ft. wheels equal the H.P. of one 20 ft. diameter wheel?

    I like to compare the H.P. of the wheel to the weights used. For the sake of discussion, if Bessler's wheel had 1/2 H.P. using 4 lb. weights, what would the H.P. if he used 400lb. weights? 50 H.P.?

    I also believe his bidirectional wheels were his weakest.

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  4. Bessler repeatedly describes his exploit as a four-fold advantage. Also, as JC notes here, he describes its power as inversely proportional to speed - which is the opposite behaviour to what we'd expect from more conventional motors (power being the product of energy and time)... which suggests that many of these 4x gains can be engineered into a single cycle (assuming the time per interaction is constant, the complete cycle time becomes extended as more interactions are added, increasing power inversely to RPM.


    Again however, the yeild due to gravity will be as nothing compared to the EM equivalent.

    Those looking exclusively to resonance effects are putting the cart before the mouse..

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  5. It is stumping that the statement "could make my wheel go really slowly, with a gentle rhythm, and it would still be able to raise even greater weights!" does seem counterintuitive, as it hints at a greater torque at a lower rpm, something 'pushing back' ...
    Maybe the thickening of the wheel was because they couldnt be made larger diam. without clashing/interfering so had to become longer? (if coke can shaped).
    As for a modern design, a very good prospect. There are not that many parts, there simple, easily/cheaply mass producable, we have better bearings etc. we could find a modern one best suits 100 or 250 rpm who knows? and alternator characteristics maybe influence chosen or desirable speeds. Ok lets play with this how about: non rotating 'safety casing' outer wheel, cheap moulded inner/outer halves with a ballistic nylon woven blanket fill, say 1" thk. (drag cars have them over bellhousings/gearboxes etc. to contain flung parts), mould them a wide base D shape so thay have a built in stand, close coupled direct driven ac alternator on the side, other side mounts plastic splashproof box containing: any safety/control circuitry for power gen./dist., sockets for take off connectivity, sockets for long 'jump leads' to pair/gang them up.Finally a long throw simple handle lever with stop/go/brake function. I thing ganging is the way to go, I'd rather have a setup like a long 'fat log' than a tall tall ferris wheel. Anyway just some thoughts.
    Regards
    J

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    1. From the design I work with, it's obvious that the simplest way to increase the power output of a wheel is to just increase the mass of its weights and levers. If these are doubled, then the start up torque will immediately double. But, there is a problem with this approach. Doubling the mass of the weights and levers also doubles the centrifugal forces they experience as wheel rotation increases. Since it is the increase in centrifugal forces acting on the wheel's internal parts which interferes with the shifting of its internal parts and then forces the center of mass of its weights and levers to swing down below the axle and thereby reduce the axle torque to the minimum needed to overcome air and bearing drag, as the mass of a wheel's parts is increased, the wheel will then reach its maximum free running rotation rate at a lower speed. It will have a greater starting power output than a wheel with less massive weights and levers, but must always have a lower maximum free running speed. Just another apparently paradoxical property of Bessler's wheels.

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  6. John,
    I must say here that I took it thus : Bessler published his books to hash out such arguments as this . The only thing missing is his method .

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  7. Bessler gives what seems like an important qualifier in this claim of slower speeds yielding higher torques; "if God were to grant me enough time".

    This seems to imply greater complexity involved in such a construction, which would be consistent with a requirement for more moving parts per cycle, thus needing more time to build.

    As for the diameter aspect, he goes on to claim that he could build a 6 ell wheel to produce the power of a 12 ell one - in short, claiming he could double the torque without increasing the radius, despite also acknowledging that torque is a function of radius.

    Perhaps this alludes to increasing the thickness, or else perhaps simply the density of internal components (ie. using more, and thinner components).

    Another clue may lie in his reference to the materials required, in answer to a question about the machine's robustness - he says that given the best quality iron, steel and brass this shouldn't be an issue.

    So, perhaps iron for the framework, steel for the springs (since iron springs would likely be weaker than steel, and steel framework might be redundant when cheaper iron would suffice).. so what of the brass?

    I've been wracking my brains for something that brass would be ideally suited to, over and above the properties of iron or steel... Rivets, screws, bolts and fixings? But why - because it's cheaper than iron or steel, and already in common usage for such parts? I've yet to identify a satisfactory answer to this.. What might brass be especially suited to, and why?

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    1. Vibe,
      never seen machinery with brass, or bronze, bearing bushes ?
      Sometimes they have felt pads to hold oil for lubrication.

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  8. The very re-invention of Bessler wheel would thrill most...it is like creating something out of nothing....it would remind some how sir newton dismissed bessler's claims without a serious thought...we could create a new toy with bessler wheel mechanism....think of how useful this wheel could be on a remote planet where there is no sufficient sunlight available....

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    1. I'm not convinced that Newton would have dismissed Bessler's claims without a serious thought. Newton himself once produced a design for a pm wheel that would, like a water wheel, be powered by the impacts from a continuous shower of incoming particles which he was convinced fell from the heavens toward the center of the Earth and which was responsible for the gravitational force holding all things down against the Earth's surface and even producing a mutual force that would make the Earth and moon pull toward each other if not for the counter centrifugal forces provided by the orbital motions of the Earth and moon around their common center of mass (located deep inside the Earth's crust). No, I think that Newton would have been fascinated by Bessler's invention and would have assumed that he had somehow managed to tap into this hypothetical "flow" of gravity particles. I've also often wondered what would have happened if Newton had traveled to Kassel to view and test Bessler's wheel there. I think they would have been the best of friends after the demonstration and Newton would have supported his claims.

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  9. The argument is about Energy Density period, not how powerful they were or not - compared to alternatives available, of which there were plenty, & even more today.

    jim_mich & ovyyus did a Horse Power analysis - IIRC about maximum 1/4 HP for a large volume.

    This disregards whether you had to divert, harvest, transport, or feed the animal (the fuel) to drive the machine v's an in-situ wheel cranking out KE to do work - that's a different argument.

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    1. One watt is equal to 0.00134102209 horsepower. I vaguely recall doing a power output estimate once for the Kassel wheel and it worked to about 25 watts which equals 0.033525 horsepower. I have a lawnmower with a 5 horsepower gasoline engine on it which means it is about 149 times more powerful than the Kassel wheel! Again, all I can say is that, after we finally find the secret of Bessler's wheels, I'm really hoping that its performance can be increased by a factor of hundreds to thousands of times. Well, we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed. Meanwhile, I stumbled across another very carefully concealed clue today which might just solve the center of mass stability problem I've been plagued with on the design I am currently pursuing. Once again, it was something I've seen for years, but was "blind" to its significance. I'm feeling a bit more enthusiastic now that I realize I have not yet reached an absolute dead end to my research.

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    2. Electromagnetism is a billion times the force of gravity. If Bessler's machines depended on the linear force of gravity, it could be likewise replaced with inertia under acceleration (ie. simulated gravity), and thus by extension any other linear force such as EM.

      With modern N50 NdFeB's or high-power solenoids the energy density could be ludicrous. Gravity mills would be so passé..

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    3. Many pm wheel researchers are trying to create an imbalanced wheel in which the center of mass of the weights is actually horizontally level with the center of the axle and projected as far away from that center as possible. That is one obvious way to maximize the torque. The problem with this approach it that it requires a lot of gravitational potential energy per degree of wheel rotation to raise such an offset center of mass fast enough to maintain its location as the wheel begins to rotate. In every such design I've analyzed, the amount of energy required exceeded the amount that could be "borrowed" from other sections of the wheel where weights were dropping during rotation. As a result, the center of mass of the weights will simply drop to an equilibrium position below the axle as torque and wheel rotation drop to zero. In Bessler's wheels, the fixed location of the center of mass of the weights and levers is somewhat close to the equilibrium position below the axle which, unfortunately, accounts for the low startup torques of his wheels. However, this does have an advantage. The amount of gravitational potential energy being lost by levers as they swing their weights in toward the axle from the 6 to 9 o'clock positions of a drum was sufficient to keep lifting the descending side located center of mass at the same rate as the wheel rotated and tried to lower the location of that center. In other words, the design just barely worked. As a load was attached to the axle, a part of that borrowed energy from the wheel's descending side would be diverted to the load to move it and less would be available to keep lifting the center of mass of the wheel's levers and weights and that would then result in the center swinging down to a position nearly below the axle which required less borrowed gravitational potential energy to maintain its location. At this point in time I can not see any obvious way of improving this situation other than greatly increasing the mass of the weights and levers used. I suppose it would be possible to substitute either electric or magnetic forces for gravity, but these methods have their own associated problems. I've seen attempts at extreme center of mass displacement using solenoids to extend and retract weights on the descending and ascending sides of a wheel. Such wheels will run, but I am not aware of any of them outputting enough energy to drive an outside device while simultaneously recharging the batteries used to power the solenoids. They are basically just fancy electric motors. When the mathematics behind Bessler's wheels is fully understood, then some means of, hopefully, greatly improving their torque may be found. I, however, will be content to just know how Bessler managed to do what the entire world of science then and still now considers physically impossible. Right now, instead of telling students that pm is impossible, I'd like to see some mention of Bessler and the statement that he "might" have been able to achieve pm and that the subject should not be considered "closed" or "settled" by any means.

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  10. I got a bit of a surprise today...the unpleasant type. During testing of my latest computer model for Bessler's wheel, it became apparent to me that I might have to add yet another rope! I previously thought that I had complete coordination between my levers with the relatively small number of coordination ropes it uses and I did, but it was not the type that works correctly mechanically to keep the center of mass of the weights and levers on the wheel's descending side during rotation. It looks like I'll have to replace that extra rope I previously added with two separate ones and that means a lot of further analysis of where to put the attachment points for the two new ropes on the levers. Just when you think you're starting to see some "light at the end of the tunnel" with your Bessler research, you suddenly discover that light is much farther away than you anticipated. Unfortunately, this feature comes with the territory and one must learn to take it in his stride and just keep moving. By the end of next week I should know if the change is taking me in the right direction or not.






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  11. Am I feeling the presence of Techno-guy, or whatever his name was?

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  12. Like last night i was thinking about this 'slower speed / higher torque' clue, and realised there's another interesting implication running off of that - the static torque of the one-directional wheels might not have been due to an overbalancing weight resting against the wheel body.

    This might seem surprising as Bessler insisted successful designs were necessarily statorless. Yet if this were the case in the one-directional wheels then it places some constraints on the form of static torque; given the witness descriptions of '~8 impacts per cycle' on the descending side, one might easily be given to suppose that these sounds were caused by overbalancing weights landing on the 'slats' - ie. in contact with the wheel's superstructure.. For comparison, if we instead consider that the static torque might have been produced by a spring, this would need to be acting between a rotor and some kind of stator, to push or pull against. Similarly, a simple chord wrapped around the axle with a weight hanging from its end would constitute a form of stator, which Bessler expressly precludes.

    So the conclusion of overbalancing weights landing upon and resting against the descending side of the wheel seems a reasonable deduction. However, if a slower, higher torque wheel would nonetheless turn with a regular 'rhythm' - one might also deduce that this 'rhythm' has a somewhat higher speed than the external RPM - in concordance with the otherwise-perplexing higher torque at lower speed; we're forced to conclude there must be more interactions per cycle in such a design...


    And there's the rub: This 'gentle rhythm' of many interactions per cycle, in conjunction with Bessler's denials of any internal stators, would seem to preclude the eight thumps per cycle from being overbalancing weights exerting their weight directly against the descending side, and likewise, this same restriction may apply to the static torque in the one-directional wheels...

    To put it another way, the most consistent interpretation in all this is that the weights need to be able to fall faster than the wheel. Quite a lot faster, for the 'slow & gentle' higher-torque wheel Bessler claims would be possible, given, as he says, sufficient time to build one.

    Whatever it is that causes those thumps on the descending side, then, it must be something else, incidental to the form of torque. That form must still be overbalancing torque, as far as i can see (again, due to the lack of a stator), however the fact that it cannot be weights resting against the wheel's inner surfaces is something of a paradigm shift for me...

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    1. ETA: just to be clear, the point it that the weights are clearly not dependent upon the wheel's rotation in order to make their way back down; elsewise they'd end up in a traffic jam on the descending side, causing the 'gentle rhythm' to stall. However, since this rhythm must continue unabated, the weights must be falling and cycling around independently of the slower-turning wheel body.

      So if your current designs utilise weights resting agasint the wheel's inner surfaces, you might want to consider these points...

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  13. One last point - there's good reason to suppose that the place to search for the solution - "the same place where those with true understanding had searched for it" - is inertial forces; as also alluded to by the spinning top in the Toys page.

    Many researchers already agree that gravitational interactions alone will always be bound to unity - that some other form of interaction must be mixed with a gravitational interaction in order to yield an asymmetry.

    Hence if inertial forces are key to, say, subsidising a lift for example, then the slower-turning, higher-torque wheels Bessler boasts of must incorporate internal components having a much higher speed, enough to generate the necessary inertial forces.

    Again then, we're forced to conclude that the internally-cycling weights are not resting upon the inner surfaces of the wheel for anything more than a brief portion of their journey, if that. The things thumping against the descending side are either something else, or, if weights, only pause there momentarily before speeding on their way.

    Of course, in order to escape from or utilise inertial displacements (such as via centrifugal force), it is necessary for that force to vary throughout a cycle - for if it simply remains at a constant value, it too is symmetry-bound, like any gravitational interaction. Therefore some kind of square wheel or pulley, or similar mechanic, must be employed to provide this per-cycle variation in internal speed.

    Perhaps this is what is being hinted at by the references to flail and thresher, twanging bows and shotgun - a cyclical burst of KE..?

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  14. I think this is a very good explanation...Vibrator....makes a lot of sense...only thing is that we need to come up with an appropriate mechanical configuration to utilize this principle...

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