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jellyfish3232's avatar

I just had an idea for a new energy source, but I don't know how well it would work. Ideas, anyone?

Asked by jellyfish3232 (1849points) October 13th, 2011

So, it would consist of a spinning beam in a vacuum. The beam would spin around a central axis which is connected to a magnet and copper coil, in turn producing electricity. The beam would spin for a long time because there would be no drag in the vacuum, providing potentially unlimited electricity while using very little to keep it spinning. The only two problem that I can think of are as follows:
1: The magnetic field may put excessive drag on the axis and slow down the beam.
2: Maintaining an artificial vacuum may be difficult, and building it in space would leave it difficult to get the electricity to Earth.

Would this be somewhat feasible, Fluther? I’m not knowledgeable in all the math behind such a contraption, but I know that there are all types on this website – I’m sure someone will have an answer.

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15 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

You’re creating electricity by spinning a magnet in a coil—just like any electromagnet. But you have to have an energy source to turn the magnet.

HungryGuy's avatar

Class 1 perpetual motion machine…

jellyfish3232's avatar

I suppose this has been proposed before.

And there would be energy supplied to the beam at first, which would be conserved for a long time before the beam slowed down, unless I’m thinking about this wrong. Also, it’s not a perpetual motion machine, right? It will slow down eventually.

PhiNotPi's avatar

If the spinning device is doing work, such as generating electricity, then the energy is coming from the device, and the device must lose the same amount energy in the form of slowing down. In order for the beam to continue moving, you would need to use an energy source to rotate the beam. And you do seem to be describing a normal electrical generator.

jellyfish3232's avatar

A normal electrical generator…In a vacuum.
Ah, nevermind, I’m just making myself look less intelligent with every reply that I post.
I’ve failed again.

dabbler's avatar

The “beam” will be doing work against the magnetic field in order to produce current.
There is a physical resistance to the thing turning, whether or not it’s in the vacuum.
Just like two “N” poles repel each other, the beam would have to work against the force of the field.

gorillapaws's avatar

It’s a clever idea, but you can’t skirt the laws of physics.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I don’t think I understand… If the beam was contained in a vacuum surrounded by magnets wouldn’t the beam condense and turn into a ball or a mass and not go anywhere?

I dunno maybe I’m reading it wrong… Let me check and I will come back.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

We obey the laws of thermodynamics in this household, young man!

Lightlyseared's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop that’s a classic Homer quote

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YoBob's avatar

Sorry, you can’t get something for nothing. The act of pushing electrons through the coil creates resistance and you will always have to put in more energy to spin the rotor than you will get out in electricity. The question here is whether the extra efficiency you gain by putting your rotor in a vacuum offsets the cost of building the apparatus. I suspect that from a practical real world usage scenario viewpoint, the answer is no.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@HungryGuy – there’s only one lass of perpetual motion machine, isn’t there?

KoleraHeliko's avatar

Ignoring issues with the beam, I must point out that creating and maintaining a vacuum requires energy. It’s probable that this amount of energy would grow exponentially as you attempt to use the process on a greater scale. I think this may offset any electricity generated by the beam thingy.

HungryGuy's avatar

@the100thmonkey – A 1st class perpetual motion machine generates surplus energy. A 2nd class perpetual motion machine doesn’t generate surplus energy, but runs perpetually. Depending on what sources you look up or what physicists you ask, these classes may be further subdivided.

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