Perpetuum Mobile - Dispute

Arguments and refutations, pseudo-arguments and conjectures, insights and counter-strategies.

I use to rely on three principles which were confirmed over centuries.

Answers to Insufficient Arguments

This Maschine runs not only perpetually, it even can deliver useful work.

Prof. Bürger provided in his column of the Spektrum der Wissenschaft (German issue of the Scientific American) a plausible explanation why a PMM, once set in motion cannot be of long duration: "If the intended consumer does not completely use the energy of the produced power, the machine would store the produced energy either in movement or in its structure, i.e. it accellerates or heats up, until it eventually would melt down or explode"1 (p.113).

Eg. from rotating machines the produced energy would lead to accellerate the device until it is torn into pieces by centrifugal forces.
I'm not completely happy with this consideration, as machines that have to work against air resistance my find a dynamic equilibrum, as air resistance roughly increases by the square of speed (in contrast to rolling friction). Very insistent PMM inventors may suggest to put the device into an evacuated chamber.

This Perpetuum Mobile only uses changes of air pressure, sunlight, radio waves....

...then it is no perpetual motion machine as the device utilizes energy provided from outside. PMMs produce by definition energy out of nothing or at least deliver more energy than provided from outside to the mechanism.

As it seemed impossible to build a PMM, the law of energy conservation was conjectured. As this law is commonly accepted, everybody says it is impossible to build a PMM. This is an unacceptable circular conclusion.

An apparently very strong argument. Unfortunately it is wrong. Of course, circular conclusions are not acceptable. But here, there is no circular conclusion. The observation that the construction of a PMM seemed impossible, led to intense experimental and theoretic work. It took until the late 18th century, until ideas and according expressions like force, power, energy, impulse, momentum etc. were clearly sorted out and defined. On this foundation, it was possible to continue research work which finally proved that all sorts of energy can be transformed into each other. The conversion factors were experimentally determined to very high precision. By this, we can state that the equivalence of different types of energy can be regarded as truth. By this equivalence, we can say that eg. one horse power is always one horse power, independet if it is generated by a horse or by an electric motor. The law of energy conservation is a fact that is proved experimentally and by theory, so it is regarded as axiom.

New inventions frequently made use of unknown physical phenomens oder material properties. 100 years ago, human flight was regarded as impossible and the inventors of flying machines were not taken serious.

Correct. However, all new inventions made up to now, were friendly enough to obey the laws of thermodynamics. Of course, many natural phenomens which we do not know yet, potentially might be useful for technical applications. But the ignorance of a theory does not imply that unknown phenomens do not obey their own laws, which necessarily are in interchange with known physical effects. If they weren't, how could we observe them?

You only need a spring with an inverse characteristic....

For sure. If the precondition of a construction is a physically impossible construction element or power source, it is easy to use it later as an engine for a perpetual machine.

My concepts makes usage of ether, terrestric waves...

Sounds appealing. What are they? How can you measure them? "For this, up to now, no appropriate meters exist". How can in this case a machine generate useful work? At least it should be possoble to use the machine's principle as source for a meter?
Especially in modern PMM literature, frequently expressions like ether, free energy open system, implsion theory etc. occur, without being defined in a clean way which is non-ambigous and allows experimental access. On such a base everything can be proven - and accordingly, most of the "theories" based on them are pretty weird and collapse if their basics are seriously checked.

The machine works on paper

On paper, any absurd or serious construction looks fine. As long as a concept has not been rigorously calculated and this calculation been checked independently, the functionality of every machine can be doubted. For sure, there are machines which can be expected to be workable without calculation work, as they obviously comply with the known principles and known constructions.

The construction only has minor flaws; it merely runs...

Agree. It will remain that way. The German magazine GEO wrote about an inventor who made around 400 PMM constructions which all merely ran, but after a short while ceased operation.

 Defense Strategy

The PMM inventors might become rare (I doubt it), but they don't get extinct. They are they same class of people who trisect angles or square the circle. They do not want to realize, that science has closed these cases for very good reasons. Rarely enough, they are willing to follow mathematical analysis, mostly because of education deficits. What shall one do, if being involved into a discussion with such an inventor? How to proceed, if you are asked to check a silly concept or a flawed construction? It may work this way:

  1. Is there a clear agreement for a considerable reward for the debunking of the concept? Or can you negotiate one? Is an independent person named, who checks the results and is accepted by both parties? Is everything based on a clear contract? Then check, how long it will take to do the job and calculate your income/hour - and then make the business. Normally, it should be an easy way for extra income. Many ideas can be debunked by elementary math and physics methods.
  2. Is the item you should check a complex mechanism whose function is unclear? Ask the inventor to calculate every single part (mass distribution, torsion stiffness, elasticity, center of gravity...) If the inventor is serious whis his mental child, he/she probably agrees. You regain your peace and the inventor learns something about physics, math or machine construction.
  3. The inventor is insistent and steals your time? Take a university textbook and collect a nice choice of formulae and complex mechanical problems. Good items are hydrodynamics or coupled pendulums. Keep the guy busy.
  4. The inventor is convinced, but you are not. The guy is not only insistent but not able to understand basic physics or math? Take the diplomatic approach and frankly say that your competence is insufficient...but you know somebody (guess: another guy who kept you terrifying) who is a specialist in crop circles, free energy, ether waves and so on. Connect them and you can enjoy your peace again.
  5. The inventor is convinced, insistent and crank? Here, every effort is in vain. Ignore him or negotiate a considerable monetary compensation for your work. Payment in advance of course.

...visit the exhibition!

1. Original German text: "Falls nämlich die vorgesehenen Abnehmer der Energie die angebotene Leistung nicht in jedem Augenblick vollständig verbrauchen, speichert die Maschine die produzierte Energie in ihrer Bewegung oder ihrer Struktur, das heißt, sie bechleunigt und/oder erhitzt sich, wodurch sie am Ende schmelzen oder explodieren würde."

Last Update: 4 July 2003 /
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