There is a "perfectly green" energy source that is
essentially inexhaustible (billions of times as much as all the
oil and natural gas and nuclear that we might ever find or try to use)!
It would cause ZERO global warming, ZERO pollution, and not use
up any natural resources. It is called the Kinetic Energy of rotation of
the Earth. The amount of rotational energy that the Earth has is
astounding! We will see below the math that proves the published
value of that energy is 2.137 * 1029 Joules or watt-seconds.
I would point out here that this amount of existing available "spinning
energy" of the Earth is around 60,000,000,000 times that
TOTAL ELECTRIC USAGE of all Americans for an entire year!
It is at least a billion times all the energy that has
ever been created and used by humans during all of civilization!
IF we can ever figure out how to extract even one one-billionth of this energy, that would represent an equal amount of all the energy ever used on Earth from bonfires to warm ancient caves to all the ways we use up many forms of power today, while only slowing down the Earth's rotation rate by about one one-billionth. In other words, the ENTIRE negative effect from using this source of energy would be to cause the length of a day to increase from 86,400 seconds to about 0.0001 of a second longer (or 86,400.0001 seconds). Larger changes than that in the length of the day occur NATURALLY (due to the Moon)! NO negative side-effects and the cleanest, purest and most abundant energy we could ever dream of!
I had thought I was the first to consider this possible energy source around 1990, but fifteen years later, I learned that the Soviet Union had begun doing massive experimentation on the same basic concept around 1970. They never got anywhere useful. I might have!
It might even turn out to be completely free to use! Yet no one seems to be even trying to investigate it! (Except for the Soviet Union, in extremely secret research beginning around 1970, which evolved into Ukraine research which is ongoing, and me, some years later around 1990! The Soviets apparently built around two hundred very complex devices over those years, but all failed miserably, and they never really got anywhere. Some of those scientists are still trying their approach, now in the Ukraine. The massive effort that the Soviet Union applied to try to access this energy source apparently never accomplished producing more than around 0.0004 Watt of power, after countless Rubles of investment over several decades.)
There are actually two very different approaches which might be used in pursuing trying to capture this energy, and the Soviets and I used the opposite approaches. The Soviets have always used the fact that a Gyroscope axle tries to maintain a constant orientation in space, and they try to use that as a fixed object to use the Earth's rotation to lever against, which requires an unavoidable gear-train speed increase of around a million times faster. Those many spinning gears cause high speed of some gears and a lot of frictional losses, along with significant mechanical wear. I was unaware of what the Soviets had tried, but I used a very different approach, where I relied on Gyroscopic Precession to generate the power, using some mathematical effects seen in the Euler Differential Calculus Equations. I feel that the approach the Soviets used was mostly a brute-force approach, where my approach might be thought of as being a more elegant approach (personal opinion, I suppose!) This may become clearer as this discussion proceeds.
This concept first occurred to me late in 1990, when I did extensive calculations and Engineering regarding confirming the validity of the concept, specifically many Differential Calculus problems of solutions for the Euler Equations. This presentation was first placed on the Internet in November 2002.
NOTE: Using my approach, which is closely related to consequences of gyroscopic precession, I built one very simple device late in 2002 and then four small (crude, tabletop size) demonstration devices early in 2004 which confirmed the logic and the math and some performance. At that time, I was not yet aware that the Soviets had worked on the same energy source for about thirty years, but I was quite disappointed that each of my four small devices each only produced around 0.001 Watt of power. My method and even my precession approach was quite different from what I later learned that the Soviets had tried to design, but it later appeared that my small and simple (and mechanically slow!) devices had each gotten better performance than all those Soviet scientists with millions of rubles and decades of effort! It made a Polack Theoretical Physicist smile! (The Soviet approach always involved a different approach related to gyroscopes, regarding that they try to maintain the alignment of the axle direction, but that approach then requires immense gear trains, on the order of a million to one speed increase, which necessarily always causes high component speeds and significant frictional losses. My approach is VERY different from that!) I relied on the fact that Precessional effects are always rather slow mechanically.
A few more comments about my 2004 demonstration devices are in order. Nothing inside any of them moved faster than about walking speed, nothing inside any of them involved more than a two-to-one gearing and the outer surface of the devices were smooth enough that the fairly slow rotation of the demo devices caused extremely little frictional air turbulence and air heating. Since I used decent (conventional) ball bearings in them, the total amount of energy loss from bearing friction and air friction was quite low. It was actually relatively comparable to the amount of energy that each (table-top-sized) device was extracting from the Earth's rotation! In other words, each of the four were actually self-sustaining! If I had bought more expensive bearings or put the whole thing inside a vacuum chamber, the observed performance would have been even better, but still nothing big! I am pretty sure that each of those 2004 devices could probably have continued to self-rotate until they would eventually fall apart! At the time, I saw no reason to try to make any major point other than detecting and measuring that they DID extract a small amount of energy from the Earth. This actually had some historical significance! Around 300 years ago, in Germany, a man named Johann Bessler built a device that he called a self-rotating-wheel. During several years, Bessler took four different versions of his Wheel to several public displays where each ran, day and night. The last and largest of his devices was twelve feet in diameter, and it was sealed inside a room (with wax seals of several respected scientists of the day) for more than a month, where it was still spinning when they all returned to see it. Bessler became somewhat infamous regarding it, as his personality was apparently not very pleasant, and Bessler's Wheel is yet a popular item in some conversations. Bessler clearly did not understand WHY he could get his wheel to self-rotate. Actually, at that same time, Isaac Newton was still trying to figure out much more basic laws of science! In fact, Newton really only studied Mechanics in one-dimension and two dimensions, and even the brilliant Newton did not realize that when three dimensions were involved, some very interesting new aspects of Mechanics arose. Around a hundred years later, a mathematician named Euler (his name is pronounced OY-ler) was studying Newton's Laws in three dimensions and he figured out the Differential Calculus (of Newton) to learn WHY a few peculiar things can and do happen in three dimensional motion. These effects include the behaviors of pendulums and gyroscopes (both in a gravitational field) as well as the same sort of effects in astronomical bodies (again in a gravitational field) such as Precession of the Equinoxes and Regression of the Nodes of orbits. Most specifically, Euler used Newton's Laws and created the Differential Calculus math to calculate how and why motion can transfer from one direction (axis) to another due to effects such as gyroscopic precession (the set of three Differential Equations of Euler are shown below).
Bessler once tried to explain how and why his wheel could spin by itself, but his explanation was not very close to being correct. Until Euler created the needed math decades later, even the smartest people on Earth could not have done so! So even though Bessler did not understand why his wheel could spin, it certainly did, and it did not violate any laws of science. Prior to building the first of my four demo prototypes in early 2004, late in late 2002 I built a smaller wheel which somewhat resembled Bessler's. My demo was a much simpler contraption than what Bessler had built, as mine essentially only had three moving parts (plus several very minor items). My entire purpose was simply to confirm that I had the right basic idea. It is interesting to note that even many very famous Astronomers and Mathematicians AFTER Euler, including LaGrange, Leverrier, LaPlace and thousands of others, still never realized the significance of the Euler effects due to three-dimensional motion. They KNEW about planets PERTURBING each other which changes their orbits very slowly, but they believed it was all due to Newton's two-dimensional gravitational effects. Their understanding of Euler's set of three-dimensional differential calculus equations and gyroscopic effects was not sufficient for a good understanding. They believed (and modern astro-physicists still do!) that planets CANNOT perturb the Semi-Major Axis of each other, which WOULD be true due to Newton's two-dimensional Laws of Motion. It was more than a hundred years later that Euler did the math to establish that when three-dimensions were involved and Forces were treated as Vector quantities, that an apparent Violation of the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum can exist. And that is the basis of this whole conversation.
I kept my 2002 device in a closet for about two weeks and it merrily rotated for that entire period. I did not count but my guess is that it self-rotated around 600,000 times in the closet in those two weeks! In fact, I suspect if I had not taken it apart, and if nothing would have broken, it very likely might still be merrily rotating today, ten years later! No, it was NOT Perpetual Motion, but it certainly LOOKED as though it was! I was then aware that my devices were extracting kinetic energy of rotation from the Earth (but REALLY small amounts!) (in accordance with Euler's Differential Equations of Newton's Laws).
For the record, I had merely built a very simple device that was based on some three-dimensional effects which Euler had mathematically discovered more than 200 years ago. It ONLY worked because it was in a gravitational field, which was provided by the Earth, and it was on the surface of the rotating Earth. It did not USE gravitational energy or power. I used to try to get NASA to send a child's toy gyroscope to the Moon (on an Apollo flight or an unmanned one) to demonstrate that the RATE at which that gyroscope would Precess would be very different from the rate it Precesses here on the surface of the Earth. It would not have discovered anything new, but just confirmed things that Euler might have calculated 200 years ago. Again, Euler provided the calculations for such an experiment more than 200 years ago, but many implications and consequences of Precession seem yet to be grasped. I admit that 'three-dimensional thinking' is centrally important in this stuff!
Specifically, the fact that I built and operated a modern device which worked like Bessler's Wheels worked, from a science perspective, I hope that that finally proves that Bessler did NOT create Perpetual Motion! Actually, there is a simple way to see the effect created by using the Euler Equations and an effect a lot like Precession of a gyroscope. Get a standard toy gyroscope, use its string to spin it up, and place one end of its axle on its little pedestal. As soon as you let go, the entire body of the gyroscope ACCELERATES IN PRECESSION, beginning rotating around its pedestal, and within a fraction of a second, it has begun revolving around its pedestal at a very constant precessional speed. Prior to Euler's Equations, this might have given the impression of being magic, and of having Violated the Conservation of Energy and the Conservation of Angular Momentum! (Kinetic) energy had not existed and now a second later precessional kinetic energy exists! But there is no perpetual motion involved! Actually, the new Kinetic Energy which seems to appear when a toy gyroscope begins its Precession is due to a wonderful effect that the Euler Equations prove, where POTENTIAL energy of the weight of the gyroscope 'hanging' on its pedestal gives up a tiny amount, by having the body of the gyroscope drop by a fraction of the diameter of a human hair! The ENERGY is Conserved in that case, just being converted from Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy, pretty standard Physics stuff! These are quantities that are described as Scalar quantites.
However, the base of my Precession devices MUST be securely bolted to the floor, so that the rotation of the Earth (one form of Kinetic Energy) can force this Euler Precessional effect to occur to seem to be creating entirely new Kinetic Energy by the device.
What has happened is that NEW Precessional Rotational Kinetic Energy has come into existence! (It did NOT come from the rotor slowing down or anything like that, like some 'experts' claim! It came into existence because of a peculiar characteristic that Euler discovered!) What Bessler had done 300 years ago and I had done ten years ago was to let the effects of the rotation of the Earth to cause the effects which Euler had discovered mathematically.
As to actually Conserving Angular Momentum regarding the 'new' Precessional motion of a toy gyroscope, it is all pretty simple by Euler. The mechanical situation is actually a three-dimensional one where a Vector representing the rotation of the Earth interacts with the Vector which represents the 'falling' of the weight of the toy gyroscope's body in the Earth's gravitational field, which creates the new Vector representing the Precessional motion of the toy gyroscope, which occurs in a DIFFERENT DIRECTION.
I have no interest in teaching anyone else how to build a Bessler Wheel, so don't ask! (But see at the very end of this presentation for a description of some even more primitive experiments I did around 1988, with pendulums, which carried the same concept. Other than being a curiosity, it would have no practical value anyway, as it is incapable of actually generating any significant amount of power or electricity. Bessler's approach could not be significantly enhanced, and even his 12-foot-diameter wheel could only produce a watt or two of mechanical power. I WILL add a couple more comments here about the concept. If someone is very talented at solving the Euler Equations, maybe they will know enough to be able to expand these comments into building a wheel like I did late in 2002. But I can warn you that it was VERY complicated in three-dimensional visualization and thinking! Especially the much more sophisticated and complicated devices I built in 2004! In Physics, it is possible to analyze any motion in Static terms, in Kinematic terms and in Dynamic terms. That is centrally important regarding this! Consider a Bessler-sized rotating wheel. Consider inside it that there are two small barbell weights which are exactly identical, each mounted crossways on short axle shafts where they could each rotate in the third dimension (but radially). In the Static sense, at all instants the device is in perfect balance, so it could rest in any position. But the two crossways-axled rotating short barbells are caused to always be exactly out-of-phase with each other. When one is exactly crosswise, the other is exactly radial. This results in the four separate barbell weights being at various radial distances from the central rotating axle. Since the whole thing rotates at the same rate, this results in the four weights having a new Kinematic effect of having various DIFFERENT Rotational Inertias, vaguely like when a Figure Skater pulls in her arms to spin very fast. In this situation, the exact timing of the velocities of the various barbell weights (at various radial distances from the device axle) creates Dynamic effects which Differentially affect the Kinematic motions of the two spinning barbells and the larger spinning overall device. Some calculations of the Euler Equations, combined with the comments above, is all that is involved in how and why something like Bessler's Wheel could and did work, along with being able to calculate how fast it would rotate. It ain't really that complicated! For the crudest form like I had built in 2002, only three separate major moving parts were required, although Bessler duplicated the arrangement several times inside his Wheels and so he had more moving parts.
I had later discovered a much more sophisticated version of the 2002 device, which required a LOT of three-dimensional-dynamical thinking! So the 2004 table-top-sized devices were rather different from what Bessler had made, where I felt that significant efficiency enhancement was then possible. IF I had been smart enough, which did not seem to be the case!
I discovered in the mathematics that there are PRACTICAL limitations on how much power can be captured by the method adopted by the Soviets. This news certainly still applies to the ongoing efforts of some Ukrainian researchers who are continuing the Soviet efforts which began around 1970, such that there is probably no realistic future that their approach can ever succeed on any practical basis. The Soviets DID make some very impressive mechanical devices, but they accomplished virtually nothing.
I tend to suspect that the only future for the Soviet-Ukraine approach is to build a truly enormous heavy spinning axle shaft, maybe a mile long! Supported on a central frictionless bearing, such that the Earth might rotate underneath it. At the very end (half a mile away!) the Earth surface should then be constantly moving around 11 feet per minute (at the North Pole!) and a fairly simple gearing might capture a few Watts of mechanical power. I am not sure I see the merit of building a multi-million dollar contraption just to get a few Watts extracted from the Earth!
Once I discovered that the crude Soviet approach has such limited capability of producing power, and I had already built the Bessler-type wheel in 2002, and I had also added a good deal of additional sophistication to the following four small demo devices I made in early 2004. I was done with them before I ever heard from the Ukraine scientists regarding their efforts and the earlier Soviet approaches. The mathematics regarding my approach is therefore somewhat different, and extremely complicated, all based on Differential and Integral Calculus of the Euler Equations. As a Research Scientist, once I had proven to myself that I could make some electricity from the rotation of the Earth, I did not persist in making any more demos. I was aware of how incredibly complex the math would be to use the Euler Equations to maximize the performance. Just writing down the complete set of 27 simultaneous differential equations took me around 56 sheets of paper! I conceded that actually solving them would likely take far more than my lifetime! It appeared at the time that my approach might be able to provide a few hundred watts of electric power, from a device that might be rather large and heavy and possibly dangerous to be around. Disappointing! In addition, the complexity of the Euler Equations for the very complex structures I had designed are astoundingly difficult to mathematically solve! So the idea of trying to maximize each of 27 different variables and then mutually solve them all to maximize the device performance, seemed beyond my mind's capability. At least for me! I will always believe that if my simple and crude table-top demo devices could have been maximized, that at least 1000 times as much power might be captured from the Earth's rotation. With a larger device and such optimization, I choose to believe that a few hundred Watts of electricity might be produced nearly forever, by a device in a closet. But since my very small and rather crude devices actually only produced around the 0.001 Watt that I measured, I cannot extrapolate as to what MIGHT have been!
The huge multi-National oil companies employ tens of thousands of researchers whose sole function is to find new locations to drill oilwells. However, their own PUBLISHED Annual Report on supplies of fuels (latest, June 2010) shows that the US only has around 4.3 years supply of petroleum under or near our country, and only around 8.5 years supply of natural gas. People certainly know that we import massive amounts of petroleum (nearly 70% of all we need and use), but few people seem to know that we also have to import fairly spectacular amounts of natural gas for our current needs (mostly from Canada, fortunately). But the Oil Industry's Published Report also shows that the WORLD supply of petroleum is only around 43 years and of natural gas, around 64 years, and that is only at CURRENT usage levels. With China and India and a hundred other countries trying to learn to use up petroleum and natural gas as fast as they can, there is NO likelihood that there will be ANY petroleum 43 years from now, or likely even 30 years from now, and natural gas will vanish shortly after. Serious supply problems are coming!
So it is reasonably well established that, assuming that we find it all, we humans will manage to use all the petroleum and natural gas up before the year 2050, in less than 40 years. (That petroleum took hundreds of millions of years to form.) A link to that published Oil Industry Report data is the first link at the end of this page. It really seems astounding that no politicians or other leaders seem to even be AWARE that the US only has only around FOUR years supply of petroleum actually in or near the United States!
A natural side effect of the formation of that oil is that massive accumulations of natural gas (mostly methane) also exist underground, and we are using it all up at an amazing rate, too. It appears that the world may not use it all up for around 64 years or so, although the U.S. figures to use up all the supplies in and near our country in around 8 years (at current usage rates) (without imports).
We use these irreplaceable natural resources in some pretty disappointing and wasteful ways. Enormous numbers of barrels of oil get used up to make the plastic bags we bring everything home in (and then immediately throw away). Ditto for the packaging of almost every modern product. Our attitude seems to be "It's here, so why not use it all up. I won't be alive when it runs out!" But you MIGHT BE! If all the world's petroleum is found and used up by the year 2030, well? I see! "There will be smart people around. THEY will figure out what to do!"
Few people are aware that the FINAL 39 Uranium mines in the U.S. closed down in the early 1990s because they ran out of Uranium to mine! (Uranium in Reactors currently supplies about 1/5 of all the U.S. electricity, with essentially all of that Uranium having to be imported. Virtually no one seems to be aware that virtually ALL the Uranium used in US powerplants since 1992 has had to be imported from either Australia or Canada, but even their mines are getting near having to shut down for having dug up all their Uranium to sell to us! Those two countries appear about to run out of Uranium to mine around 2014 and 2016, respectively. This is yet another Energy Crisis coming which no Reporters have seemed to have ever even mentioned!)
Collectively: MOST of the basic fossil fuels upon which all of modern civilization is built, are about to FOREVER disappear! And simultaneously, available supplies of Uranium figure to be used up even earlier.
Oil (gasoline, diesel, aircraft Jet fuel, kerosene, home heating oil), natural gas and uranium will NOT be available supplies of energy, just a generation or two from now! The world has around 110 years supply of coal (from the same Report), but coal is such a dirty fuel that it mostly disappeared after starting the Industrial Revolution. Is coal again going to HAVE TO be the source of all energy for factories and everything else? But coal is being used up impressively fast by China, so the world supply of even coal is NOT going to last 110 years!
Occasionally, there are people who say that Nuclear Reactors might be altered where they could use Thorium instead of Uranium. That MIGHT be possible, SOME DAY, but that technology does not yet exist. During the past fifty years, no substantial advances have been made in trying to use Thorium to generate electricity. But even assuming that a Thorium technology might be developed in another 50 years, it is certain that any existing Uranium power plants would require massive alteration to try to use an entirely different process. Don't hold your breath regarding counting on Thorium!
There are also news reports about 'tar sands' or 'oil sands' or 'oil shale' such as the massive deposits found under western Canada. As I compose this paragraph, aggressive companies are trying to get a huge and complicated pipeline built across the United States, which would allegedly get Canadian oil sands oil down to proposed Refineries in Texas. Most of the needed technology has not yet even been finalized, regarding either the extraction of oil from the sands or the capability of then sending that oil through thousands of miles of pipes. It seems peculiar to me that they insist on sending the oil to Texas to be refined, in a Refinery which currently does not even exist! Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to simply build the needed Refinery in Canada, near where they plan to dig up the oil sands? But it seems that businesses are fearful of failing and they want to distribute the responsibilities (and possible losses). And clearly there are some businesses which want to profit in building a 2,000-mile long heated and insulated pipeline across the United States, and they seem to have good friends in the US Congress, who are being amazingly aggressive in trying to pass laws to ignore several States in forcing such a pipeline to be built. Additionally, there seem to be rather obvious PRACTICAL MATTERS which seem that everyone is overlooking. The very expensive Alyeska Oil Pipeline across Alaska is a four-foot-diameter pipe, but even at its prime, it only could carry about ONE-TWENTIETH of the oil which the United States uses. In other words, the proposed new pipeline across the United States could not possibly carry enough oil to supply more than ONE-TWENTIETH of the needs of the United States, even if they eventually figured out solutions to all their current problems. Is THAT really worth US taxpayers and US utility bill payers to spend billions of dollars to have such a pipeline built? I do not see the logic! Finally, news reports regarding the EXTRACTION of the oil from Canadian oil shale rarely seem to ever mention that MASSIVE amounts of fossil fuels must be burned to provide all the energy necessary to extract even small amounts of oil. That is very much like the billions of dollars the US government spent on the lunacy where they decided that 1/3 of all American crop lands should be used to create Ethanol. No one seemed to ever mention that even if that could all have been done, the MAXIMUM benefit would have only been around replacing around 5% of the gasoline now burned in the US. But equally important, and ignored, was the established fact that MORE fossil fuels had to be CONSUMED in the creation and transportation of that Ethanol than it then ever supplied! AT BEST, the Ethanol adventure was guaranteed to be a losing proposition! Canadian oil shale and oil sands have been much like that, UNLESS some great new breakthrough occurs where far less fuel would have to be consumed in the process of extracting the oil. Shouldn't someone actually THINK about such things before immediately jumping to spend billions of US dollars on silly speculations? I understand that they are DESPERATE regarding wanting to be able to announce solutions to the ongoing energy crisis. But does that give them the right to be announcing every speculation that anyone comes up with, as though they were all credible?
Technically, this concept would involve a "mechanism" or "coupling". There are countless mechanisms that use shafts, pulleys, gears, levers, etc, to convert some form of energy into some other form. There are also mechanisms based on magnetism or electricity to do similar conversions. The premise described here is a "coupling" which is based on either of two peculiar aspects of how gyroscopes work. There does NOT seem to be any other mechanism that is capable of coupling this particular energy source with any usages (except pendulums), but these two approaches seems ideal for it.
And the "energy source"? It is from the rotational spinning of the Earth! Weird, huh?
The real problem regarding actually extracting such energy is that we would need some "fixed point in space" to push against to be able to capture any of it. And we have no such object available! Gyroscopes and pendulums provide an indirect source for such an object to push against due to a quirky aspect of how they work.
However, MAYBE there might be some other method to try to extract this (available) energy. Consider this as an example. When you PARK your car in your driveway in the evening, think about what happens overnight! The earth ROTATES! Where your car headlights might have been been pointed toward the stars in Orion when you parked, by the next morning, they are pointed at stars in the opposite direction in the sky! YOUR car got physically TURNED AROUND during the night as a direct result of the Earth rotating. Now imagine providing an ice rink under your car (or, better, a shallow pool of liquid Mercury) where there was no friction between the Earth and the car tires. When you would get up, Newton's Law of Momentum would apply, where your car had NOT rotated with the Earth, while the Earth underneath it had rotated! It would SEEM to you that your car had turned around during the night! This is essentially the effect we see with a giant pendulum in a Museum, where we can watch as the pendulum SEEMS TO be rotating as we watch, where the reality is that the pendulum was NOT moving (per Newton) while the Earth was actually causing that impressive demonstration. That Museum might have placed your car on a frictionless surface instead of having that pendulum, and a VERY SLOW (apparent) movement would be much the same. (Maybe not as impressively, though!)
Unfortunately, even though this is certainly true, the AMOUNT of energy required to turn your car around when on an absolutely frictionless surface is surprisingly small, and when that energy is spread out over twelve hours, the RATE of power would be microscopically small! The energy and power are NOT due to any friction or drag with the ground, but instead due to another observation of Newton. Using a polar coordinate system, you would need to create an ANGULAR ACCELERATION (continuously) per standard Mechanical Engineering formulas. (because ROTARY motion requires a constant angular acceleration). But even with a two-ton vehicle, the Rotational Inertia and the angular velocity and acceleration are so slow, that the simple calculation shows how tiny this "source of energy" would be. These two paragraphs are meant to show that "the Pendulum Approach" actually IS valid, but the practical considerations are such that the amount of energy which might be produced is so tiny to be irrelevant, so Pendulums do NOT seem to be a practical method to try to capture the Earth's rotation energy.
These preceding two paragraphs are included here to show that MAYBE some new thinking might find some new method to capture this amazing supply of AVAILABLE energy!
We will refer back to this amount of energy soon!
Around 1990, it truly dawned on me that gyroscopes also maintain their orientation in space. And they happen to be a LOT better at maintaining that axis orientation than pendulums do, for simple mathematical reasons. I was "slow" on that since it was known for centuries! Many applications of gyroscopes in navigation functions rely on this characteristic. If an airplane or ship turns, it contains a (small) gyroscope that has an axis that tries to constantly point toward some specific star in space. That gyroscope is supported on what is called a gimbal mount where even as the airplane or ship turns around it, the gyroscope axis can remain pointed in its original direction. It is then very easy to monitor turns and the direction the craft is going. (Both ship and aircraft gyros are a LOT more complex than this for some complicated reasons, but that is the basic idea upon which they are designed.)
So, it dawned on me then that the most obvious idea would be to build an enormous (hypothetical) million-ton, Ferris-wheel-type, gyroscope on the North Pole of the Earth, with really, really good bearings that gyroscopes always have. This means that an interesting possibility existed! (THIS is the basic approach which the Soviet and Ukraine researchers all pursued). Once a motor would be used to start the gyroscope spinning, it would then spin (forever, if the bearings were good enough and there was no air friction). Its spin axis would try to remain fixed in space, with the axis pointing to some specific star. Since we are speculating on this existing on top of the North Pole, this would be possible. If the whole thing was mounted on a flat-bottomed platform on glare ice, it actually COULD keep its axis pointed at that one star, even though the Earth would rotate underneath it!. But the Earth's rotation, and ground under the huge gyroscope, would constantly be turning, completely rotating once every day. (In a sense, it would resemble that big pendulum that impressed me as a little kid!)
If the giant hypothetical gyroscope axis was supported friction-free, so its axis could remain pointed at that specific star, (like on that glare ice) and the Earth was then still able to slowly rotate beneath it, a TORQUE (or Moment) would exist where the Earth could be trying to rotate the fixed axis of the gyroscope. A gear-train might then be driven by the differential motion of the Earth underneath to power a generator or other equipment. Essentially, the Earth's rotation would externally directly drive the gear train, using the gyroscope simply as a fixed object to push against!
(THIS is actually the approach that the Soviets had always tried. Because the motion of the rotation of the Earth is so VERY slow, once per day, they then always needed to use an impressive GEARTRAIN to speed up the motion, by roughly ONE MILLION TIMES AS FAST! One revolution per day is the same as one revolution per 1440 minutes. When they would build their (necessary) million-to-one gearing, the Soviets could get one million revs per 1440 minutes, which is about 700 revolutions per minute [or RPM], which would be about fast enough to drive a small electrical alternator like on a car. But their PROBLEM [forever] was that all those gears each have mechanical losses, frictional losses, and to use a one-million-to-one INCREASE gear ratio, it turns out that those losses are HUGE. The Soviets apparently never accomplished even 1% efficiency for their geartrains. So even though their devices each actually CAPTURED (a very small amount) of power from the rotation of the Earth, the losses of their geartrains, as well as from bearings and air friction [which they learned to eliminate with vacuums] of rapidly spinning rotors, always caused them to have a NET loss of energy. So they KNEW it was theoretically possible to do, but they could never discover the practical way to limit all the losses.)
Far before I was ever aware that the Soviets were trying this, I had been calculating and pursuing the same goal, but in a VERY different way! Instead of using a brute force approach as they did, of simply relying on a gyroscope to maintain its axis direction and then using massive gear trains to try to achieve the rotational speeds they knew were necessary, I have always relied on an entirely DIFFERENT characteristic of gyroscopes. All of my devices have been designed around very complicated ways of using the PRECESSION of a gyroscope. Instead of having to use a factor of 1/14,000 in the calculations TWICE, the calculations of precessional motion are different, and, in my opinion, FAR more beneficial. But it appears that extremely few people understand the Euler Differential equations enough to be able to Integrate them to solve such problems (and the problems are IMMENSELY complex even to set up!)
We will continue this discussion on the traditional approach which the Soviets pursued for more than 20 years and now the Ukraine scientists are continuing to pursue. A little more technical way of describing this functioning is that the rotation of the Earth necessary applies a TORQUE (or Moment) against the gyroscope's axis, trying to change its direction, which would then drive the million-to-one multiplier gear train. The GYROSCOPE'S FIXED AXIS IN SPACE essentially represents a FIXED structure to which the rotating Earth and therefore the gear train could act against to "load" the Earth's rotation, to actually remove energy from the rotation of the Earth! No other "fixed structure" is available for such a use, except for something like a pendulum or gyroscope that is following Newton's Laws in trying to maintain its orientation in space.
I will mentioned (maximum) several times in the following text. There IS a reason! IF virtually NO loading was put on the geartrain, in other words, NO PRODUCTIVE POWER, then the Earth could rotate easily and smoothly underneath this behemoth. Very little productive power would be gained BY CHOICE. At the other extreme, IF we tried to capture an infinite amount of power from this device, what would happen is that the device would act like one solid lump and the gyroscope would be FORCED to rotate with the Earth, as the gear train would not be able to rotate the massive loading. This would also result in very little productive power, but this time, because of mechanical limitations. When the Euler Differential Equations are solved regarding these matters, it is found that a MAXIMUM amount of PRODUCTIVE POWER can be had at an intermediate situation. Essentially, the giant gyroscope would appear to be SLIPPING, in other words, not actually maintaining its true orientation in space but also now actually being twisted around at a maximum rate. That intermediate speed of operation is shown by the Euler Equations to be the IDEAL operation of the device. In simpler terms, it should NOT be operated with no electrical load at all (as that is wasteful) and it should also not be operated with an excessive electrical load (as that is also wasteful) but at one specific level of electrical loading, it will operate with maximum performance.
(I realize that this is WAY too complicated for most people! Sorry about that! But there have been SOOO many people who each think THEY understand all this to be able to solve things that 20 years work by thousands of Soviet Researchers could never solve! So I have decided to add in some of the (necessary) more technical stuff, if anyone wanted to get a SUPERFICIAL understanding of what is actually happening.
We can even (crudely here) calculate how well this would work! We probably can never build a million-ton spinning gyroscope, but we DID launch 2,000 ton Saturn V rockets into space, and we make 150,000 ton oceangoing ships. So we will use the hypothetical example of a million (metric) tonne gyroscope (1,000,000,000 kg), 20 feet (6 meters) in diameter, turning at 2 revolutions per second or 120 rpm (so the outside surfaces would move at around 80 mph.) Some of the "geniuses" who have told me that THEY know how to make it work have shown there ignorance here! TWO revolutions per second is only 120 rpm, true. So those deep thinkers explain to me that they would spin the giant gyro at the speed of a car engine, like 6000 rpm. True, that WOULD create a LOT more electricity than I have described. However, the surface of their spinning gyro would have to be moving at around 4,000 mph in the air, around six times the speed of sound! (in other words, extremely impossible!) And even then, that rate of spin would cause such centrifugal force that the entire SOLID STEEL device would INCREASE in radius by at least a foot, just before it would self-destruct!) There IS a reason that I refer to 2 RPS, because I had actually done the calculations and those calculations SHOWED that 2 RPS was about as fast as such a giant monstrosity could be spun. ANY actual Physicist, and probably any good scientist, would have done those calculations to KNOW such things!
Once this thing was started (with a motor), if there was no friction it would continue to spin forever, at that constant 120 rpm speed, with no additional energy needed from any motor. NO power would ever be drawn from the rotor spinning. The Rotational Inertia of such a gyroscope would be m * r2 or around 9 billion kilogram-meters2. It's (rotational) Angular Momentum would then be this number times the GYROSCOPE rotational rate of 2 revs/sec (which is called 12.6 radians/sec in science). The Angular Momentum of this giant object would then be 115 billion kg-m2/second or 115 billion newton-meter-seconds.
We are halfway there! The (maximum) Moment (torque) that could be applied (acting to drive the drive train) on the gyroscope would then be this Angular Momentum times the rate of the applied rotation, which is the EARTH rotation rate of one rotation per day. That is about one radian every 14000 seconds. Therefore the (maximum) applied Moment (sort of leverage or torque) would be the first number divided by the second or about 8 million newton-meters. This is the maximum amount of Moment (torque) that could be available between the gyro axis (which is trying to remain in a constant fixed line in space) and the base underneath it which is rotating with the Earth. If this Moment (torque) is multiplied by the ACTUAL RATE of that DIFFERENTIAL MOTION, that is, again, a once per day rate of rotation (again one radian in 14000 seconds), we then have 8 million times 1/14000, and we get 600 newton-meters/second which is also defined as 600 Watts of Power. If there were no losses, this contraption would therefore be able to create about 600 Watts, which is almost 1 horsepower of power, constantly and forever! That constant production of Power would NOT require any input from any other energy source. The gyroscope ROTOR would never slow down from drawing off this power, although bearing friction and air friction would certainly cause losses. The continuous horsepower of power would forever come from this device REMOVING a tiny amount of the energy from the Earth's rotation. Such a machine would obviously eventually break down, but until then, it would forever be able to constantly produce that (maximum of) 600 watts of energy. After it ran for millions of years, this machine would have taken enough kinetic energy of rotation from the Earth's spinning that the day would become the tiniest amount of a second longer, on the order of a trillionth of a second, too small a chance for us to even be able to measure after those millions of years of supplying power!
THIS approach to removing energy from the Earth's rotation is exactly as has been calculated here. It's greatest drawback is that the (slow) rotational speed of the Earth spinning (only once per day) has to be used TWICE during the calculations. This causes any effect created by the Soviets or anyone else to have to be divided by around 200,000,000 regarding calculating the actual Power which is possible. Even with a gargantuan spinning object as we have been discussing, it ONLY could supply a maximum of only 600 Watts of power, because of this factor. IF you could get the Earth to spin a hundred times faster (where a day would then be about seven minutes of sunlight followed by seven minutes of darkness), it would operate a LOT better (but we would all be dead for many other reasons!)
My new calculations of Nov 2008, give a maximum power rate for this specific device of 587 watts, in very close agreement. And it would NOT have to be installed only at the North Pole, but at many locations (although the power produced would be reduced by the Latitude of the location, and at the Equator, it would not work at all). Keep in mind that the Soviet Union had spent more than 20 years and many millions of Rubles in attempting to build devices to achieve this goal. Some of those same scientists are now in the Ukraine, and still pursuing the same project still! But, unfortunately, still attempting to use the same Soviet approach which has all those frictional and bearing geartrain losses.
(It turns out that friction in the shaft bearings and air resistance in any real devices cause losses that can be significant, so the actual available power from the gargantuan polar gyroscope would be much less than this. This particular [hypothetical] example, with standard design bearings and surrounded by air, would have enough frictional losses to certainly eliminate generating any electricity to export!)
However, a mechanism such as the hypothetical one described would certainly give the APPEARANCE of perpetual motion! It would be able to run apparently forever, and even produce usable power in the process! It is NOT perpetual motion, though! What would be happening is that Kinetic Energy of the rotation of the Earth would just be CONVERTED into a different form of energy, such as electricity or shaft mechanical energy. This is therefore a confirmation that the Conservation of Energy, which is also called the First Law of Thermodynamics. is still absolutely valid! No violation of any law would be happening! Actually, if the Earth ever completely stopped rotating, this device would THEN stop working!
My point here is that an unbelievably huge supply of energy is available to us (in addition to an even larger amount of solar energy constantly coming in from the Sun) and that there would be no pollution and no depletion of natural resources involved in using it. No global warming would result either!
There are people today who keep pursuing "perpetual motion" but they rarely have a scientific background to understand how to calculate things like complex differential equations or to know what is possible and what is not. Such people would probably be interested to know that the device just described would qualify for their "perpetual motion" device, even though it actually isn't! After a MILLION YEARS of EVERYONE on Earth using such devices, the Earth would have VERY slightly slowed down in rotation, so that the day would then be a fraction of a second longer! But it turns out that the Moon's interaction with the Earth's ocean waters, as the tides, has a much larger effect! In that million years, the Moon and its natural tidal effects will have slowed the Earth's rotation enough to make the day longer by around 22 seconds. If everyone on Earth was constantly using devices such as this idea to provide ALL the power used, then the length of the day a million years from now would be around 23 seconds longer than today, instead of 22. Considering that we are discussing a SUPPLY OF ALL ENERGY for ALL HUMAN ACTIVITIES FOR A MILLION YEARS, not bad! And NO pollution or any other bad effects at all!
On a totally different subject, in a few billion more years, the Moon's effect on the ocean tides will have slowed the Earth's rotation down to about 1/50 as fast as it is today (there will then only be about seven, REALLY long "days" in each year!)
A related effect essentially is the inverse of an effect of a standard child's gyroscope. When such a toy is spun at a high speed and then supported, with axis horizontal, at only one end, everyone has seen that the gyroscope precesses, it slowly revolves around the one end that is supported. In that case, the precessional movement is CAUSED by the interaction of gravitational force and the gyroscope spin. (When we later discuss the Euler Equations [even nastier math!], it is an effect involving the second equation!) In this other case being mentioned above, a precession-like movement is FORCED on a gyroscope, in order to try to cause desired results. (Involving the third Euler Equation!) (A lot of people assume that the gyroscope rotor spin has to slow down to supply the energy for the motion of the precession, but it really does not. The rotor can spin forever at its original rate, except for air friction and shaft bearing friction slowing it down.)
These two effects mentioned are actually quite different, but both are extremely interesting. The toy gyroscope, if it had absolutely perfect bearings and it operated in a perfect vacuum, should precess forever, without ever slowing down its spin. This represents an interesting subject, because there is the appearance of a NEW motion (the precession) which does not seem to be powered by anything. If you stop the precession with your finger, it will start up again, without the gyroscope rotor slowing down in the process! The initial impression is that it could represent some sort of "perpetual motion" (in that it seems to be creating new energy by starting up the precession motion without any apparent source of energy to do it!) although that is not actually the case. The mathematical understanding of that is fairly complex, though! But for now, it can suffice to say that each time the precessional motion is artificially stopped, the body of the gyroscope needs to microscopically DROP (a tiny fraction of a millimeter, unnoticable) in order to provide the (Potential) energy which gets converted into the Kinetic energy of the precessional motion. The distance of dropping is very small, and it is never even noticed at all.
As it happens, MY METHOD for capturing energy from the rotation of the Earth is based on THIS concept (of precession) and not the very different brute force approach that the Soviets had tried. My approach does NOT require massive gear trains to produce useful power. However, it certainly bend's one's mind, as it involves gyroscopes inside of other gyroscopes inside of other gyroscopes, and trying to follow all the precessional motions which occur is quite a chore! The math involved is quite impressive too! It is quite amazing, and when I built four very small demos of it late in 2003 and early in 2004, they worked very close to how the calculations had indicated! Note that the Earth's rotational energy could drive such a device for billions of years which would certainly make it SEEM as though it WAS perpetual motion!
The Earth certainly has kinetic energy of rotation. An unimaginable amount! The Earth is known to have a Rotational Inertia (called I) of 8.070 * 1037 kg-m2. It rotates once a day, so it turns at the rate of 6.2832/86164.09 radians/sec (called ω). The Earth's kinetic energy of rotation is 1/2 * (I) [that Rotational Inertia] * the square of this spin rate. Doing this math gives us 2.145619327 * 1029 kg-m2/s2 (or newton-meters). A published value is 2.137 * 1029, essentially the same. That unit of energy is also called a Joule or watt-second. I would point out here that this amount of "spinning energy" of the Earth is around 60 thousand million times that TOTAL ELECTRIC USAGE of all Americans for an entire year! And at least a billion times ALL the energy that has EVER been created and used by humans!
Now say that, over a period of 1,000 years, the Earth's rotation somehow SLOWED by 0.0007 SECOND per day (and NOT due to the far larger slowing effect of the Moon and the ocean tides). Instead of a day being the current 86164.09 seconds, it would then be 86164.0907 seconds long, an absolutely unnoticeable effect. (Especially if it only occurred so slowly that it took a thousand years to change!) The kinetic energy of the Earth's spinning calculation above would be the same except we would now use 86164.0907 and the Earth's rotational kinetic energy would be 2.145619292 * 1029 kg-m2/s2 (after that thousand years).
A basic law of Physics is that Energy must be Conserved. By gradually slowing down by just that fraction of a second, an unnoticeable effect, and one with no consequences whatever, the Earth would have had to have given up the difference in those two energy totals, which is 3.6 * 1021 kg-m2/s2, or 3.6 * 1021 Joules. A Joule is a watt-second. To convert this into kWh, just divide by 3600 seconds/hour and 1000 watts/kW or 3.6 million, and get 1.0 * 1015 kWh.
This is identical to the total electric use of all Americans for one thousand years as calculated above! So, if we could just figure out how to insignificantly slow the Earth's rotation, to make the length of the day longer by less than a thousandth of a single second, we could have essentially limitless electricity for all of us for a thousand years! Interesting?
This amount of energy is the same as if a large 50-megawatt electric power generating plant operated constantly for 2 * 108 hours, or around 23,000 years! Or the total of the hundreds of such giant electric generating plants which operate continuously now (always using up enormous amounts of conventional power sources such as the fossil fuels oil, gas, coal, and also nuclear or hydroelectric).
See my reason for fascination? If someone could figure out how to SIMPLY tap into this enormous energy of rotation of the Earth, to somehow convert a tiny part of it into electricity, we could totally supply all the electricity needed for all American homes for a thousand years while only making the day 0.0007 second longer. No burning of any coal, oil or natural gas to deplete those supplies or pollute the atmosphere with their waste products and their global warming. There would also be no reason to use nuclear power generation to create electricity, and so there would not be all the environmental hazards there. Countries wouldn't even have political reasons to wage war over sources of petroleum or other energy supply natural resources! All the known supplies of oil, coal and natural gas together will probably be used up in well under 100 years. And then what? IF somebody can figure out how to convert a tiny bit of that rotational energy of the Earth, WOW! Even a conservative view makes clear that there are billions of times as much energy present as we could ever hope to discover in all the coal and gas and oil and nuclear we will ever find.
However, I see NO future whatever for the approach that the Soviets (and now Ukraine) has pursued. Their central problem as I see it is that whatever they would build, there is first the fact that the Earth rotates slowly (1/14,000 radian per second) that has to be multiplied in first to get the Moment, and then again to get the Power. No matter how impressive the number you start with, when you divide it by 14,000 two consecutive times, you will not have much left!. MY approach does not have those applications of that factor, which provides a wonderful advantage! However, my DEVICE is immensely complicated, and determining the very most efficient value for each of 27 different variables turns out to be a painfully difficult Calculus problem! My four little devices from early 2004 each had different dimensions, but in all four cases I had to make best guesses regarding each of them. I had changed some dimensions thinking that I would see either increase or decrease of the output power, but the four that I built back then all created essentially the same amount of productive power output. I could not tell if I had changed a dimension beneficially or detrimentally! So my plan to be able to use experimental testing to refine the structure failed miserably! So I was stalled by either having to try countless billions of different configurations of the experimental device, to see which ones produced a little more power, or having to solve a set of simultaneous mathematical Calculus equations that are far beyond what I can solve. This is curious, as I KNOW that my approach works (due to experimental proof) but I am unable to refine it into a productive device! Frustrating. A number of people who have claimed to be excellent Mathematicians have said that THEY could solve the equations, but they have all then said about how really busy they are right now! (I wonder what they are doing which they feel is more important than this?)
This research also led me to investigate the immense amount of (waste) heat given off to the atmosphere by Electric Power Generating Plants and I have composed a separate essay on that at Electric Power Plants - Climate Effects http://mb-soft.com/public2/powerplt.html.
It is an astounding amount of wasted energy! Even the (heated to 140F so that the oil can flow through it) 800-mile long Alaska oil pipeline gives off an amazing amount of waste heat to the atmosphere, more than a good-sized city gives off, yet another subject and presentation!
People have ripped into me for many years regarding this statement, that 60% of the electricity put INTO the power-grid at the power plants, is LOST, and that only 40% of the electricity makes it through the wires of the power-grid. So it was refreshing to see that IBM had started running TV commercials in Jan 2009 that started off announcing that "more than half" of electricity is lost in the power-grid! Maybe people will be willing to believe IBM about such statements!
Most people also do not realize that most modern cars are only around 21% efficient, regarding the energy that was in the gasoline, and even less when considering the original energy that was in the crude petroleum. (But that is a lot better than the average 15% automobile efficiency of the 1970s!)
This concept of simply converting a tiny portion of the Earth's rotational energy into mechanical energy, seems to have very little possible inefficiency or wastage. It IS true that then converting it into electricity would have some conversion losses, but they are still a lot better than 13% or 21% energy usage!
There is actually another aspect of this that seems even more attractive to me, for several reasons. First, here is an example of the current "silly thinking". California has so many people that it is in urgent and even desperate need for electricity. As I understand it, Southern California is funding research in North Dakota, around 1500 miles away, regarding generating electricity with giant windmills. That technology would have some environmental implications of its own, if really extensive use was made (wind patterns and weather patterns would be altered for everywhere downwind, east, of the wind farms, for example), but that is not the silliest part. If you ask ANY knowledgeable Electrical Engineer, he can explain that the "power grid" that we rely on has a problem. Even when those high-tension power lines are operated at high voltages, they are DESIGNED so that roughly 90% of the electric power put in at one end of a 60 mile long stretch, gets to the other end! The other 10% is LOST as resistive heating (by the wires into the surrounding air). So, 60 miles away from ANY central electric generation station, only about 90% of the made electricity is still available. (This is why virtually all such generating stations are pretty close to large cities where the electricity is needed.) So, go another 60 miles, and we lose 10% of that remaining electric power (or 9% of the original, so we have 81% still going. After 180 miles, there is only 72.9% left available.
If you continue with these "transmission line losses", which ALL Electrical Engineers can easily calculate, for a 1500 mile stretch to California, it is easy to see that (0.9025) only around 7.2% of the electricity created in North Dakota would actually arrive in California! And worse, the other 93% of it would all be WASTED heat of the hot wires heating up the air along the way, contributing to effects related to global warming. A good idea? Who is doing this thinking?
I guess it sounds impressive to politicians and executives of giant corporations! They figure they are seen as "green" by spending money on researching such things! I do not argue that a MODERATE usage of wind power is a good idea, as long as the electricity created was to be used fairly locally. Maybe there should be a "Ministry of Common Sense" to oversee such things?
I admit that California seems to have an impossible situation. They keep needing to use more and more electricity, and they have started building electric power plants that will not be operational for ten years. California also relies very heavily on electricity generated by hydroelectric power plants at Hoover Dam and other dams, and drought has lowered the reservoirs more than a hundred feet below normal. They have spectacular problems. But spending money to research making wind electricity in North Dakota??? Wow!
Back to the issue here! Instead of a million-ton gyroscope at some central electrical generation plant, and then all the transmission losses and atmospheric heating, we have built a compelling case for that being a very bad idea! But the idea seems extremely appealing that SMALL systems might be able to be installed for each house or building. Talk about "off the power grid!" This would be its own separate electric generation system. The idea of personal independence is a nice side benefit, should this concept be practical!
I now KNOW that a more sophisticated (and more complex) device can be made which is far more effective in making this transformation of energy. I have known about this for around fifteen years and have investigated dozens of concepts. In early 2004, I (scientifically) measured an energy production of around 0.001 watt in each of four tabletop-sized devices. That is not much, but it IS larger than ANY experiment done by anyone else, ever, even the Soviets!
For the math-challenged, you might want to skip a few paragraphs here.
Let us consider some more-practical-sized devices and do some calculations. We will here still pursue the "crude" version, like the NP giant:
I happen to have a flywheel from an antique air conditioning refrigerator. It's radius is around 0.20 meter (8") and it weighs around 19 kilograms (42 pounds). Let's consider getting it to spin about as fast as a normal appliance motor, 1800 rpm. If we assume that all the mass is at the outer edge, the Rotational Inertia (I) is m * r 2 or 0.80 kg-m2. The Angular Momentum is I * ω or 150 newton-meter-sec.
If the supporting shaft size is 4 cm (about 3/4") in diameter, then the shaft bearing velocity is 1.9 m/s. If standard ball bearings are used, which have a dynamic coefficient of friction of around 0.0015, the standard friction loss calculations show that the power loss due to friction in the bearings is 0.57 watt.
These are pretty good bearings. If the flywheel is spun up to 1800 rpm, it would coast for quite a while before stopping. Another way of looking at it is that IF a really tiny motor was placed on the gyroscope shaft, that provided just 0.57 watt of power, the frictional loss of the bearings would be overcome and the gyroscope would keep running at a constant speed of 1800 rpm. Notice that at this point, we need 0.57 watt of outside power!
Getting back to the gyroscope resisting having its axis changed, we now need that Angular Momentum times the rate of rotation of the Earth. Since the Earth rotates completely in 86,400 seconds (one day), it rotates one radian in around 14,000 seconds. So we have 150 nt-m-s * 1/14000 /sec, which is therefore around 0.01 nt-m of torque (Moment) available. This torque is applied at a very slow rate (1 radian/14000 sec), so we again multiply (0.01 * 1/14000) would only have less than one one-millionth watt of power generated. In this case, it is a really tiny amount of power and not nearly enough to overcome the frictional loss in the bearings. Yes, this was an example of what would NOT be useful, to show the general concepts involved!
|The new calculations of Nov 2008, give a maximum power rate for such a device of just over 3/4 of one one-millionth of a watt. Again, very close agreement.|
Gyroscopes work better as their radius is increased. Let's consider a gyroscope of the same weight (19 kg) but ONE HUNDRED TIMES the diameter. This would be a really skinny rod curved into a giant circle with a 20 meter radius (over 120 feet in diameter, but extremely skinny. In fact, it would be much less than 1/4" in diameter if it was a steel rod. Also, let's slow down the rotation of the shaft, to 1/100 of before, so the actual speed of the outer parts is still around 80 mph, so we will use 18 rpm instead of 1800.
We would now have: I = 7600 kg-m2. With the (slow) 18 rpm rotation, the Angular Momentum is 14,600 nt-m-s. When multiplied by the rotation rate of the Earth, we get more than 1 newton-meter of torque (moment) available. Continuing, this would give about 1/14000 watt (0.00007) (one hundred times the output, with the same weight of material, but just a lot bigger).
Even better, the bearing velocity is only 1/100 as fast because the spin speed is that much slower. The result is that the bearing frictional loss is now only 1/100 of before, or 0.0057 watt.
Now, we're getting closer! If this giant Ferris Wheel type ring is made out of standard 2" diameter steel rod (ten times the previous diameter), (with a thicker supporting shaft and bigger bearings), the ring mass would be about 100 times as great 1900 kg (4200 pounds). These calculations show that it would then produce a continuous 0.007 watts of output power, with now about a watt wasted by bearing losses.
|The new calculations of Nov 2008, give a maximum power rate for such a device of 0.00765 watt, again in very close agreement.|
These calculations show that some power can be created but that it is difficult to overcome bearing friction. There are also two more complications that need to be considered. First, there would also be air resistance friction, and so the entire gyroscope would need to be enclosed inside a sealed chamber and the air removed so there was a good vacuum inside. Second, one must remember that the Earth rotates and causes the apparent axis of the gyroscope to change. So it would not remain standing up like a Ferris Wheel, but would need to (very slowly) rotate (the entire gyroscope) opposite the direction of the Earth's rotation. Astronomers say that it must revolve (precess) around a "polar axis" where the gyroscope would appear to completely tumble over once each day. So the room surrounding it would have to be REALLY big!
More yet? This device would create an output rotation which would be VERY slow, once a day! So, one then would have to confront the million-to-one gearing ratio that the Soviets had so much difficulty with.
However, I also wanted these calculations to point out that the "crude" version described here is not very practical. For just a watt or two of power, the cost of building a really large gyroscope and making the supports, and then enclosing it in a sealed, evacuated room 140 feet high, wide, and long, is just not "cost effective" in business terms.
I am certain that a much more complex practical (mechanical) (low-speed) mechanism can be made. I believe that an enhanced version of my (early 2004) experimental "toys" can be made such that the entire device would fit into a normal room, and the low speeds eliminates the vacuum needs! It figures NOT to be inordinately complex.
I now have come to realize that there are TWO different solutions as I just described here! One of them HAS BEEN FULLY MATHEMATICALLY SOLVED (in Sep 2008) but the more complex (and seemingly far more potentially useful) has not. (Yes, it has, in November, 2008.)
I am also certain that Euler's Equations hold the key to maximizing the performance of the mechanism, but those equations become unbelievably complex for many situations. Most of the configurations that I have worked with wind up involving sets of 27 simultaneous differential equations in 27 unknowns! They are not much fun to try to solve! Whenever I (or someone else) can manage to complete those solutions, and then mathematically Integrate them, I will know how to maximize the device's performance regarding each of the many parameters, by Integrating the differential equations over each of the different variables, and then Differentiating again to get the maxima values.
In mathematics terms, the problem is called the Eigenvalue problem. However, it is an especially complex version of one! There are Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors all over the place! When I was still in College at the University of Chicago, I knew how to solve many such problems, but that was long ago and I seem to have forgotten much! Worse, it is commonly known that for the majority of practical cases, exact solutions to the Eigenvalue problem for distributed systems is not possible. In general, efforts are made to try to find "approximate solutions". In this specific problem, many of the Eigenvalues happen to be very complex equations based on the Euler Equations, and there are a LOT of them. I have pretty much given up on my brain ever being again able to solve such problems mathematically.
We all know that Newton's Laws of motion apply to all objects. His laws were refined by Euler into a set of three generalized differential equations for when an object is moving in a three-dimensional motion. The three equations are of the form:
with the usual symbols for angular velocities, rotational inertias, and such. The solution to this set of equations, for the complex initial conditions that I work with, will establish the energy (production?) conversion performance. So, in my opinion, we even already have the basic equations!
In my opinion, the idea of a truly huge spinning gyroscope to try to produce a few watts worth of power is impractical. But I believe that a "more sophisticated" mechanism of maybe eight or ten foot diameter, maybe in a basement, might be able to constantly produce some electricity for that house.
(The "simpler" solution, which I HAVE fully solved, appears to have less conversion output, with such a sized-device currently seemingly likely to produce a constant few watts or so [forever]. I am not entirely sure that the size and expense of that version of the device would make practical sense on a broad scale. IF it should be possible to find some way to increase its output capability by a factor of maybe 1000, where it could then constantly produce significant electricity, THEN it would make a lot of sense!)
|As of November 2008, I am now leaning more toward a rather different approach, which seems to require even MORE complex math to solve! It it could some day work, it might provide a lot of electric power at device speeds which are compatible with modern living.|
Setting up those rather complex Euler equations would be useful, establishing the Eigenvalue problem for them, and then Integrating them over time and them partially Differentiating them over a single variable, to determine a "best" dimension for that parameter. If this were done for each of the 27 parameters, then a realistically efficient conversion system might be possible. Without that math, just trying "best guesses" for all those parameters, may take many thousands of years!
I have also been very surprised that NO ONE, in history, seems to have ever become troubled by something in toy gyroscopes! Given that the rotor spin rate is not affected (which is true, except for friction and air resistance), even as a child I noticed that when the gyro is first released on its little pedestal, IT ACCELERATES up to some precessional speed! It happens really fast, but the Precessional motion STARTS OUT WITH ZERO KINETIC ENERGY, but a moment later, it has kinetic energy that is easily measured.
That energy had to come from somewhere! How come no one seems to have ever even thought about that? (The answer to this is that it turns out that the Euler Equations show that that acceleration of the precession motion causes the entire body of the gyroscope to lower a VERY small fraction of an inch. The [Kinetic] energy of the precessional motion actually CAME FROM the [Potential] energy of the height of the gyroscope weight in the Earth's gravitational field!) (I realize that was WAY more information than you wanted!) (However, that effect happens to cause a unique violation to a very basic Law of science, called the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, a troubling fact!)
The other response comment I want to make is that, should I actually find that my concept works, I would almost certainly "give it away" by providing full plans in some web-pages, much as I have done with the "free Air conditioning (since 2000)", or the "free Childhood Obesity/Precision Bodyfat analysis (since 2004)", the "beached whale saving concept (since 1997)", and many other things that I have chosen to give away in the past. I have noticed that immediately after I mention "GIVING it away" all those people seem to disappear! None of them seem that interested any more about helping people out, and I wonder if that is because they do not see how they could get disgustingly wealthy in the process. I realize that might be a cynical view, and they probably all just became extremely busy with more important things.
There actually is ONE other contingency where I would choose NOT to divulge this thing. And the "simpler version" which I have now completely solved mathematically, unfortunately, falls into that category. At the moment, it appears that a device which should be about to capture only a few watts of electric power forever, would weigh about as much as an automobile, but which would have that weight split up into many separate parts which were each constantly (and forever) moving at rather high speeds. And mechanisms being what they are, something can be expected to some day break down. What if a shaft shears off, or a bearing disintegrates, or some other part disintegrates? Very suddenly, the entire ton of fast moving mass would become wildly out of balance. As it would then self-destruct, what if there was some person who was unlucky to be nearby? And these concerns would be even more true if someone had tried to make their own, of the entire system. Would YOU be willing to design your own X-ray machine so that a doctor could do an X-ray for you? Probably not. Because the technology would probably be beyond your abilities.
I also have grave concerns about any businesses that would decide to start manufacturing such devices. Would they really be 100% concerned about the well-being of each customer, like was true a hundred years ago? Sadly, no chance of that! ALL modern businesses seem to ONLY be focused on their bottom line. If they felt that they could save three cents by doing a shortcut on material or workmanship, essentially EVERY modern company does not even give a second thought! I cannot say that I have any interest in encouraging that sort of thinking!
But now consider a more complicated motion than just a simple ball in a uniform gravitational field. Imagine an ant, of some standard mass (weight) for an ant, walking in a constant circle an inch in diameter. I am going to ask something simple, just what the ant would weigh on a scale, at any instant. Ants seem to have sticky feet, and this one will need that! He is walking in his circles on one of the carriages of a small model Ferris Wheel which is both spinning and has its carriages separately spinning. Now, bolt the supporting structure of that model Ferris Wheel to the floor of a roller coaster car, and have that roller coaster constantly be following its complex (and fun) course. So now I want the equations of motion for the ant. Essentially I am asking what his (or her) weight would be, instantaneously, on a scale. The ant will always experience the effect of his weight, the attraction of the Earth's gravity, but he is forever tilting in every imaginable angle and position, and the effect of his weight, in regard to a "rest frame" of the surface he is walking on, is a moderately complicated problem, due to the combined effects of his own walking in that circle, the spinning of the main body of the Ferris Wheel, the spinning of that individual carriage in it, and the complex path of the roller coaster. However, the ant also experiences "inertia" due to the fact that he has weight. Just like when YOU are thrown toward one side when the roller coaster car turns to the other side, the ant has the same sensation of acceleration, but now in rather complex ways!
This turns out to be a fairly complex equation to just describe the POSITION of the ant. In three dimensions, of course, x, y, and z. Now, if that equation is processed by something in Calculus called Differentiation, we would have the differential equations (in x, y, and z) which describe the VELOCITY (like speed) of the ant in all three dimensions. THEN, if we differentiate them again, we can find the ACCELERATION of the ant in each of the three dimensions. These are actually what the Euler Equations are, in the usual form.
We are starting to get somewhere! Newton taught us that Force equals mass times acceleration. Since we would know the mass of the ant, and we just found the many individual accelerations (in x, y, and z), we could now do a vector addition to get the total resulting acceleration (in x, y, and z), and we could now determine the force sensation that the ant felt at ever instant, in all three dimensions. (All that sensation that you feel in a roller coaster of being thrown toward one side or the other, can actually be presented in mathematical equations like this, but they are actually a lot simpler ones than for our ant that we are abusing.
Now, sticking with our ant, if we now Integrate (more Calculus) each of these force components for an entire cycle of the roller coaster and Ferris wheel, we could calculate the TOTAL NET work which acted on the ant during that whole time. That number SHOULD total to ZERO for each of the three dimensions. You can think of this that you get thrown toward the left and toward the right an equal amount, actually an EXACTLY equal total amount in an entire roller coaster ride.
Unfortunately, MY mathematical problem is actually a little more complex than that of our ant! When I have come close to writing down the basic equations, it has always taken around six sheets of paper just to write the preliminaries down! The actual entire equations appear to require around 50 sheets of paper to just write down (although I have never fully written them all out yet!) Imagine WORKING with it, doing Calculus on it! (I am establishing that I am not as smart as I might have hoped!)
If my idea has merit, then one of those dimensions will wind up having a NON-ZERO net force. THAT would actually prove that my idea has validity, but I actually sort of already assume that it does! In fact, if I get an actual exact answer for this problem, I will know the theoretical maximum power output that a specific device might produce. What I really need is for those equations to essentially be solved for many different experiments where a single dimension of something is changed. Each time it is solved as above, a different net Work would be calculated. By using that Calculus Differentiation again, it is possible to determine the value of that dimension that gives the greatest possible value for the net Work, meaning that the dimension value is the best available dimension for that part of the mechanism.
That number would be plugged in and the whole works done again regarding altering some different dimension. Presto, again, etc, and a best dimension for that dimension would be calculated. Do this for every one of the mechanism dimensions, and a decent estimate for how it should be built should exist! (a FAR better guess than anything I can guess up to now!) As noted above, I have essentially had to simply make educated guesses regarding all those dimensions for the prototypes that I have made in the past, and they give evidence of having worked, but very minimally.
There are actually ways to carry this even farther, to get even better estimates, but you should get the point.
At whatever point when I can get access to or get someone to solve these things, I think I would then be able to build yet another prototype, and I would THEN be able to see if it can do what I think or not. There are probably some people who LOVE to do Eigenvalue problems!
If it DOES, I am likely to say YIPPEE a few times and a few hours later, there are likely to be web-pages telling everyone else how to duplicate it, but bigger! I truly believe that a device between the size of a closet and a bathroom, may be able to constantly generate 3,000 to 5,000 watts, and maybe 10,000 watts of electricity, for a household, essentially forever (until it breaks). Of course, I could be wrong! Until I get some math problems solved, I will not know! I am pretty confident on this, and I can nearly taste it! Interestingly, if I am right, the device would NOT work at the Equator! Fortunately, human beings seem to like to live at around 40° Latitude, where it figures to work very well!
But for all those people who think they see a cash-train that they want to get on board, I really can't imagine that I would ever get dollar signs in my eyes and participate in anything like that! Sorry to disappoint!
Above, I promised to describe some 1988 experiments which actually were the seeds of the later calculations and experiments discussed in this presentation. Here it is!
Around 1988, I became very intrigued by the Physics involved in riding on a playground swing, and specifically, how you can increase the height of the swinging. As you certainly know, you lay back at certain times and sit up straight at other times. The Physics involved has to do with Energy and Momentum in a Polar Coordinate System. By leaning back as you are moving downward, you actually increase the radius of part of the weight of your body as regards the support point of the swing high above. The greater radius on the way downward allows gravity to produce more Rotational Inertia and therefore Angular Momentum. By sitting up more vertically as the swing was rising, you reduce the Rotational Inertia, which then removes less Angular Momentum. The result of this is that you swing a little higher. You can do this TWICE in each cycle of the swing, and if you are effective at doing this, you can make the swing go higher rather rapidly.
There is nothing magic in this! You have to keep PULLING yourself up (in the gravitational field) each time you cross below the support point, and your arms are exerting the force and using up the energy which becomes the additional energy of the higher-swinging swing.
Nothing special in this. Many millions of people have ridden swings, and I suppose that virtually none of them ever knew WHY they could make it swing higher by themselves. But that is relatively simple Physics, and your arms doing WORK keeps all the Conservation Laws working right!
But I noticed that you also LOWER your weight at other times, and in a full cycle, you wind up back at the height you started. It is not quite that simple, as you LOWER your weight when the swing is at an angle and you RAISE your weight when the swing is near vertical, and the effect of that angle keeps from being able to do any magical things!
You might notice that the lean-upright cycle needs to be TWICE as fast as the basic swinging of the swing. This is actually related to the 'factor of two' mentioned above in my prototype devices.
But now, instead of a person, imagine that a Barbell was on the swing seat, and it was on an axle where it could spin around, so it could be oriented horizontally or vertically at different times. This is somewhat more complicated mathematically than just a person leaning and straightening, but the idea is that a slowly spinning barbell would not use any extra energy (not counting air friction).
I realized in 1988 that there was a way to 'couple' two identical swings-with-barbells, in a rather unique way, where one barbell-weight was moving down in the gravitational field at the same time the other one was moving upward.
The 'coupling' mechanism must involve three-dimensions, by the requirements of the solutions to Euler's Differential Calculus Equations show. But it DOES work! So, in 1988, I made two pendulums (swings) and coupled them in the necessary way, and they were able to absorb a tiny amount of energy from the Earth's rotation in order to keep each other swinging.
So I then realized that the core idea works. But I soon found that pendulums or swings moved too fast, that is, they caused too much frictional losses from air resistance and from the support bearings. I concluded that pendulum-based prototypes were unlikely to be able to extract any significant energy from the Earth's rotation. Looking at the Euler Equations, I realized that Gyroscopes and Precession had the same mathematical solutions, and so by late 1990, I had devised my precession-based approach. Gyroscopes usually SPIN very fast, but with good bearings and inside a vacuum chamber, frictional losses can be greatly minimized, as is done in many products which are based on gyroscopes. The mechanical structure of my precession-based devices is pretty obscure, as it involves the three-dimensional effects shown in the Euler Differential Equations, but the advantages over pendulums seemed really obvious to me. SO, forever after that, I worked to refine the precession-based concept and devices.
Actually understanding of how and why these things work requires sophisticated understanding regarding how to solve the three-dimensional Euler Differential Equation set, which very few people seem able to do. So the discussion ends here, and would require a reader to become proficient at solving three-dimensional Differential Calculus Equation sets for further understanding.