Q & A: Free Energy for All!

Q:
sir, Is it possible to generate electricity or simply a mechanical rotation from a machine which uses PERMANENT MAGNET AND GRAVITY only. Is it violates law of conservation of energy ? it is bit serious question because i have designed such a machine which produces a mechanical rotation using only permament magnet and gravity. i have checked with many. now i am going to invest my money to realise into a hardware prototype. Please reply. Thank you..
- vijay ANAND (age 27)
karpagam college of engineering, india
A:
If something is falling down in that machine, it can generate electricity. For example, if you drop a magnet through a coil, voltages are generated in the coil. The problem of course is that then you have to pick the magnet up to keep it running. The total work you do picking up the magnet will exceed the total work output of the generator. That's required by conservation of energy + the second law of thermodynamics, which implies that friction etc can only cause losses of power, not gains.

Rather than waste your money on a hardware prototype. perhaps you should contribute to some worthy cause, such as the Physics Van.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-Up #1: Perpetual motion?

Q:
I have to disagree that perpetual motion machines are impossible. For all we know that may just be a paradyne that we will one day look back on shaking our heads. Iv'e heard that magnets have expiration dates, im not sure how true that is but since both magnets and gravity could be used as pulling tools, all that would be required to make them work as perpetual motion machines would be for one of them to have a "brain" to know to stop pulling. This brain mechanism could be something that uses very little energy to move the magnet just out of range of the object it is pulling causing gravity to take over at times. I just find it hard to believe that anyone can say anything with absolute certainty.
- Steven Groves (age 18)
Jamaica
A:
No such thing.   The correct adjective describing perpetual motion machines starts with the letter C.   Instead of me yammering away using arguments of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, I suggest you look at the web site of my fellow curmudgeon Professor Bob Park of the University of Maryland.   His thesis is that the only money to be made with perpetual motion ideas is that made by scam artists.

LeeH

(published on 06/08/2009)