Saturday, 9 February 2008

Perpetual Idea

Thane Heins has an experimental set up consisting of a generator and magnets which seems to be defying the laws of physics. I should mention that the creator is being very careful not to label it as a perpetual motion machine.

Heins started with the idea of using magnets to improve power generators back in 1985, it wasn't until 2006 while tinkering with a particular set-up that he noticed the strange behaviour. What he did was to connect to the drive shaft of a electric motor a steel rotor with small round magnets lining its outer edges. He then placed a coil next to the magnets, effectively creating a small generator. To create some current he connected the coil to a load, like a light bulb for example. By overloading the generator he expected to see the motor slow down and eventually stop, however the exact opposite occurred, the motor started to accelerate.

The law of conservation of energy basically prevents perpetual motion machines from existing. The law states that the total energy in a system remains constant and that you cannot create of destroy energy but convert it from one form to another. One consequence of this is Lenz's law which applies to motors and generators. Lenz's law says that the currents induced in a coil will create its own magnetic field that will oppose the flux that created it. Think of it as a form of magnetic resistance, the higher it is the more power is required to maintain a constant motor speed.

Try to imagine what would happen if the field generated by the coil didn't oppose the magnetic flux creating it. As the north pole of a magnet approached the coil there would be a south pole induced in the near face of the coil. The attractive force between the two poles will accelerate the magnets approach, thus increasing the current induced which will further strengthen the field, increasing the attraction between the poles and accelerating the magnet, and so on. As you can see this is a runaway effect. This seems to be the exact thing happening with Heins setup.

Heins later realised that the steel rotor and driveshaft were conducting magnetic flux from the coil and transferring it back to the motor, he thinks that the back EMF is somehow boosting the field of the motor and so accelerating it.

You may have heard about an Irish company called Steorn which claimed to have created an over-unity device, they even planned to demonstrate it at the Kinentica Museum in London, however due to 'technical difficulties' they cancelled the demonstration. There have been many such claims in the past and it's a guarantee there will be more in the future.

As an electrical engineer I am highly sceptical of any such claims. Unfortunately I don't have the time or resources at the moment to investigate this further. I have found this video on youtube showing the thing in action.

Potential Difference Inc.


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