General Question

flo's avatar

How would a hand held fan work without batteries or electricity?

Asked by flo (12974points) September 7th, 2016

The handheld fan happens to be small enough to go into a hand bag. But that’s neither here nor there. It has no battery compartment, it’s been in storage for a decade or so. It works perfectly. How?

There are things that work without electricity or batteries. There’s kerosene, light, (artificial or natural) gravity,... But in this fan’s case those don’t apply. So how is it working?

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26 Answers

janbb's avatar

Can you post a picture of it?

flo's avatar

It’s not mine. I’m not familiar with of the owner of the fan who is not computer literate.

monthly's avatar

There must be an energy source. Solar or mechanical.

flo's avatar

@monthly But it was working indoors with no kind of light the person just accidentally turned on the button it started working.

flo's avatar

@monthly…not no kind of light I meant nothing to speak of because it was in a dimly lit room, and the fan was Inside some container.

flo's avatar

And there is no brand name on it.

SmashTheState's avatar

There are several possible ways a fan could function after years in storage without a battery or electricity.

- Zero point energy. “Space” is not nothing; if it was nothing, it wouldn’t exist. There is a seething mass of potential energy in the form of quantum foam which could theoretically be accessed directly. It’s not likely this fan harnesses the power of quantum foam, but it’s theoretically possible.

- Twin flywheels. A flywheel suspended in a magnetic field in a perfect vacuum could continue to spin indefinitely. How much energy it could contain would be limited only to the mass of the flywheel, the speed at which it’s spinning, and the tensile strength of the material. Of course, a single flywheel would act as a gyroscope, so you’d need at least two spinning in opposite directions to allow you to actually move it around freely unless you miniaturized the flywheels and put the whole magnetic field/flywheel mechanism on gimbals.

- Matter/anti-matter annihilation driving a tiny steam engine. There’s enough energy bound up in a single drop of gasoline to power a car for its entire useful life. A tiny speck of anti-matter held in a magnetic bubble reservoir would be enough to create energy sufficient to keep the fan spinning for centuries. The heat of the matter/anti-matter reaction could turn a steam-powered turbine to mechanically spin the fan blades without electricity.

- A miniature singularity held in a tiny magnetic bottle could be fed air through a tube to turn a turbine to mechanically spin the fan blades. The singularity would need to have significant mass to keep from evaporating over a period of years. Does the fan weigh more than a refrigerator? If so, there could be a singularity inside.

- A magnetically-shielded ball of super-dense, super-heated plasma in a perfect vacuum could be used to power a Stirling engine to turn the turbine blades by lowering enough shielding to allow it to emit blackbody radiation to a reservoir of water.

- A tank of metallic compressed oxygen could be slowly allowed to outgas to turn turbine blades.

I’m sure there are other extremely unlikely but theoretically possible ways this fan could operate without a battery or electricity, but these are what occur off the top of my head.

flo's avatar

@SmashTheState Thanks for your answer but I’m looking a lay person friendly kind of answer.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@flo Magic. Most likely heat powered . You can buy at a novelty store.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Seek's avatar

Wind up? like a music box?

monthly's avatar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCGTNArwJ0s

Heat of your hand will only work if there is a heat difference from one state to another.

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ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It likely has a wound up spring inside.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Sneki95's avatar

Maybe it has been charged long ago electrically, so it works now.

Is there some hole that you could put the charger in?

babaji's avatar

I have a flashlight that is powered by a trigger that I
keep squeezing.
is it like that?
or maybe it has fused directly
with the cosmic current?

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