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- Grandpa

I'm having a difficult time getting to the bottom of this.  An over unity machine.  Can and does it exist?  I've built from scratch, Paul Brown's MAGNETIC DISTRIBUTOR GENERATOR.  But to achieve what he claims, I need 2800 rpm's.  (Balance must be exact.)  At 1725 rpm's, I received 50 volts AC at approximately 1 amp.  The machine does indeed generate electricity.  The claim is 240 volts AC at 1.8 amps.  Enough to sustain field generation & with some clever EMF w/diodes, it could even run its own drive motor.  I don't know anyone who has built one of these machines.  Do you know or think this is at all possible?  To achieve over unity?

- Ben

Sent from AllExperts.com at 09 Feb 2000

(Grandpa is a physics expert on that site - Some of the examples come from there.)


Ben -

When you refer to "over unity," you are talking about a machine that makes more energy than it receives.  This is also called a "perpetual motion" machine.

Man has built many useful machines that convert one form of energy to another.  They are never 100% efficient, and some energy is changed to heat that is not used.  You're talking about a machine that can "make" energy.  This, man has not done, and unless the laws of physics are terribly flawed, he can never do this.

People have been enamored by the hope for such machines for centuries.  Our own patent office used to receive hundreds of applications for such devices.

The rule now is that they accept no such application at all.  They will accept all kinds of other "silly" applications, but not for perpetual motion machines.  There were too many of these applications, and they were all purporting, without evidence, that the laws of physics did not apply to them.

Let's understand a little about the difference between perpetual motion and perpetual motion machines.  For all practical purposes, perpetual motion does exist.  Our planet going around the Sun is an example.   This is not a machine, however, that can make energy from nothing.  Even this "perpetual motion" is not entirely so.  The orbit will eventually decay - there are some losses - and the Earth cannot last forever.  This is slightly less than unity - meaning that the energy into the system is just a little more than the energy out of the system.  The motion of electrons in an atom is another example of very near unity - but not "over unity."

The law of physics, that must be faulty for such machines to be possible, is the law that tells us energy can neither be created nor destroyed.  I have a favorite in the attempts to disprove this law.  It's not an attempt to make a perpetual motion machine - but if this experiment proved what it appeared to prove at the time, an "over unity" machine could be designed using the principle.

Here is the attempt:  Begin with two identical springs.  Compress one of them and bind it with leather strapping.  Note that there is potential energy in the compressed spring that is not in the other spring.  Now - put each spring in an identical beaker of acid that will dissolve the springs, but not the leather.  Now both springs are gone.  What happened to that potential energy in the compressed spring?  Did we destroy it?

The answer came later with a more careful experiment.  The experiment was performed in a calorimeter.  This is an insulated tank that keeps track of the heat so that none or nearly none is lost.  It was found that the acid that dissolved the compressed spring got hotter than the acid that dissolved the uncompressed spring, and the extra heat was exactly the amount to account for the potential energy stored in the compressed spring.  This was an amazing result at that time, and it well supported the conservation law.    

There have been many interesting attempts to build such "over unity" or "perpetual motion" machines, and a study of some of these from history is very educational.  You can figure out why each of them is faulty and learn quite a lot of physics in the process.

You have probably learned greatly from your own work on your machine.  Even when we try to do something that cannot be done, the learning is often worth all the effort.  Sometimes we learn to do something worth while even though we can't do what we set out to do.

Continue studying and working, keeping your mind open, but paying attention to what you know so far.  This will prevent you from "spinning your wheels" too much.  A little "spinning" is ok.


- Grandpa

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