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Wheels, Bombs, and Perpetual Motion Machines

Wheels, Bombs, and Perpetual Motion Machines


Perpetual motion machines are badly named. A true perpetual motion machine doesn’t
just keep spinning forever: if you were to set an object spinning out
in intergalactic space, in some ideal true vacuum, it would keep spinning
forever. You just wouldn’t be able to get any useful
work out of it. If someone actually built a perpetual motion
machine, a true one, it would give out more energy than is put
in: enough to overcome friction, enough to overcome
air resistance, enough to keep going until mechanical failure. And like a wind turbine, it’d let you take some of that extra energy
for your own use. There are, obviously, some physics objections
to this. The laws of thermodynamics always hold true. This here is a device made by Thomas Young
in 1807. It is the original, two centuries old from the archives of the Royal Institution
in London, which is why I have to wear gloves to touch
it. It’s an unbalanced wheel, and there have been many perpetual motion
machines like it. There was a giant one in Los Angeles in the
early 20th century, advertising a café: and according to Popular
Mechanics, it kept going until there was a city-wide
power cut. And there was an inventor in 1829 who was
sure that a carriage with conical wheels would roll around the world “‘till time
shall be no more”. They all work on the same principle: cheat the centre of gravity so it’s always
on one side, constantly unbalanced in the same direction. In this case, if you draw a line down the
middle, there are more ball bearings on one side, so that side should be heavier, and when one gets near the top… …it rolls over, so that side over there
is constantly being pushed down. This doesn’t work, obviously. And that’s why Thomas Young built this machine: to demonstrate that it’s impossible. There may be more ball bearings on that side, but the ones on this side are further away
from the centre. No matter how much you complicate it, this wheel will just rock back and forth and eventually settle where the centre of
gravity is lowest, or where friction stops it. But imagine if perpetual motion machines did
work. Which isn’t difficult to imagine, apparently: there are all sorts of snake-oil companies who successfully sucker investors into giving
up surprising amounts of money, and then never produce any actual proof of
a working prototype. There have been so many attempts that both
the US patent office and the UK “pay-tent” office refuse to even entertain the idea of perpetual
motion machines. Now, you can argue physics and thermodynamics
all you want, but there’s a more common-sense argument
against perpetual motion machines, against the idea of free energy. Because regardless of how it’s powered, whether it’s an unbalanced wheel or something
else, if you have a magic box that can give out
more energy than it takes in: what happens if you use a small one to power
a bigger one, and so on, and so on, and so on? You could start with something the size of
a grain of sand, and rotate the Earth with it. Or what happens if you plug it into itself? If you have something that multiplies the
energy you put in… then after a few seconds, you’ve got a bomb. Thank you very much to the Royal Institution! Over on their channel I’m debunking three
other types of perpetual motion machines along with someone from their team. Go check it out!

100 comments on “Wheels, Bombs, and Perpetual Motion Machines

  1. I have heard of continuous motion machines, where the idea is to get the machine to run as long as possible. I think with continuous motion the idea is not to try and break any physical laws, but to see what can be done.

  2. That wheel… we think it violates trademark laws! That is clearly Blappeture Mesa's parent company, Aperture Science.

  3. I have a perpetual motion machine it runs on STUPIDITY, so there is an endless supply.

    It did slow when my internet connection was lost, but has picked up speed lately.

  4. Funny how center is octagon. Which is also used on stop signs. Make the center a circle and the arms extending out curved instead of straight out from your stop sign centerfuge

  5. 0'20" … should read "get out THE SAME energy you put in" … perpetual motion need not imply acceleration …

  6. It's impossible due to the requirement law in physics

    one thing has to cause another thing for it to function, like you need a ton of energy to make matter

  7. Is the universe some sort of perpetual motion machine? You got me thinking with that plugin powering itself till it explodes. What if the big bang was like the plugin building up enough energy (in this case infinite) till it exploded.

  8. So are atomic bombs a form of perpetual motion machine because they accelerate the process of atom smashing to release energy

  9. you give me anxiety flaying your hands like that over an object you need tot wear gloves to touch xD and the table tipping a bit from holding yourself against it.

  10. "Perpetual motion machines are impossible, but that hasn't stopped a lot of people trying to build them." This demonstrates very well how much a scientific proof is worth: Nothing. People don't believe in proofs. The best way to get people to try something is to prove that it can't be done.

  11. Nuclear chain reaction perpetual motion machine.
    We take nuclear power plant…
    Big one…
    160000 MeyGaWattz!!
    Spin it in a cylinder on a trolley
    Very safe, 3.6 roentgens
    I'm told it's the equivalent of a chest x ray

  12. I want to see the version of Flubber where the titular green goo creature keeps bouncing around with increasing force until it destroys everything.

  13. The other thing people don't get is that even if you do have a genuine permanently unbalanced system it is quite happy to remain unbalanced. The thing that makes it want to turn is lowering the center of gravity, not restoring balance. And you can't keep lowering the center of gravity for ever. In fact usually after part of a revolution there is already rotational symmetry and it is back where it started.

  14. Wait so if it explodes it was a perpetual motion machine? Uh… apparently all you need is a 9v battery 2 capacitors a breaker and a light bulb from a flash light… cuz I made both capacitors split and the battery expanded then started leaking alkaline… and my arm went numb for a couple days…

  15. 0:10
    I don't believe so. It would gradually radiate it's energy in the form of low frequency light. Perhaps this would simply !make it get slower and slower, but never stop, or maybe I'm just completely wrong, but there you go.

  16. Reminds me of a sci fi book I read once where they found a device that did that, that produced more energy than was taken in, and it took ages for them to realize it was not in fact a reusable nuclear bomb.

  17. Lmao my Provincial government is currently investing in one of those snake oil companies with a concept for perpetual power and no actual prototype or anything.

    They have patents in the us allegedly, despite the coffeepot breaking all rules of thermodynamics and having no demo to prove it works.

  18. A stupid rule of perpetual motion machines:
    Even the RESOURCES IT IS MADE OF need to be able to infinitely sustain it without ANY form of wear or tear through the ages.

  19. Huh, I always thought that wheel was theorized to work the opposite way, with the outside balls having more leverage than the other side (thus turning counter clockwise). Still doesn't work of course, but I thought the "inventor" intended the opposite way

  20. Wait aside from the content of this video, how does it have over 1M view but less than 1K comments? How's that even possible?

  21. I’ve seen this video maybe 5 times now and I just got the joke at around 2:17:

    “The U.S patent office and the UK patent office” (patent for the US office pronounced pah-tent and the UK pronounced pay-tent)

  22. Perpetual motion is possible practically speaking. Not by creating energy from nothing, but by converting existing forms of energy into alternative forms of energy that can be used. Creating energy from nothing, not possible. Creating an alternative to internal combustion engines, very possible.

  23. You pronounced patent two different ways in the same sentence. Is the UK pronunciation officially different just like color and colour are officially different spellings?

  24. How would it be a bomb? I get that you'd have the energy for one but what's considered as bomb materials in general is but a chemical reaction that releases a lot of energy fast (so the reaction not only has to be spontaneous but really fast cinetically). Of course a bomb can also be produced with high pressures (different kind of energies can be used) but overall the primary principle would be the release of a lot of energy really fast.
    Quite an affirmation to make.

  25. wouldnt objects in space in a vacuum still lose energy through radiation and thus eventually stop spinning? Or can the momentum not be converted to heat/radiation?

  26. Here's an interesting question what if you took 5 of them or even ten of them and put them out of phase 30 60 or even 90 degrees and see what happens

  27. couldnt you just send a wheel up in space and spin it to generate everlasting energy since there is so force from stopping it ex: magnets for no friction

  28. Gravity, magnets, springs, and latches all together might get you close to a perpetual machine. Oh and a solar panal just for good measure.

  29. What about using a of set axle on something like one of those "hover boards" with wheels and just used your body weight to go forward or backward

  30. Holy cow, when you started to set of a bomb right infront of a priceless piece of technological art I got really stressed out.
    Then I realized that I'm an idiot and that it was obviously staged.

  31. You're either a shill (probably) or an idiot. There are many examples of "over unity" devices. Some of them are commercially available. Do your own research.

  32. Another thing that would make perpetual motion impossible is the law of conservation of energy which states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. That makes it impossible for energy output to be greater than imput

  33. Ironically enough, the initial proposals for perpetual motion wheels sound somewhat similar to the principle that keeps things in orbit. Just, if you ignore physics.

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