Avoiding the consequences of a conservative force

Both historically and currently there is a perception that a barrier exists which denies the possibility of constructing a continuously turning gravity-driven wheel – I do not include water wheels etc, but mean only that this is so when there is no additional medium between gravity and the wheel, other than the weights. In order to see how Bessler’s wheel overcomes, or sidesteps, the conservative nature of the gravitational force (i.e., the usual view being that whatever it (gravity) delivers along the way must be re-input to complete the cycle) I offer the following explanation.  Please accept my apologies for describing my view in the simplest of terms, it is easier to explain it this way.

fig 7Imagine a wheel mounted on an axle and able to rotate freely and perfectly balanced so that where ever it is stopped, it remains stationary.  This is shown in the left figure in the adjacent drawing, fig 7. Affixed to the wheel are four weights, a, b, c and d, equidistant from the centre of rotation and each other.  The position of any weight can be altered with one’s hand, for instance, in the left drawing, the white weight, a, drawn at the nine o’clock position. If it is moved inwards one inch towards the centre of the wheel and then released, the wheel rotates clockwise 90 degrees to rebalance itself.  The weight, a, which was moved inwards, is now at twelve o’clock, as in the above right drawing.  Gravity caused the wheel to rotate until it balanced again, because another force, your hand, moved the weight, unbalancing the wheel.

We can agree, I think, that you can make the mysterious other force, which is your hand, manipulate the weight so that it overbalances the wheel, as often as you care to do so.  But Bessler maintained that only gravity powered his wheel, so why not use gravity to move the weights into their overbalancing position?  Because that is what inventors have been attempting to accomplish for hundreds of years and it doesn’t work.  Such schemes require the same ‘packet’ of gravity to perform two actions,  firstly in moving the weight and secondly in turning the overbalanced wheel - at the same time. Bessler found a way around this apparent impasse.  He said that his weights worked in pairs, which implies that when one weight fell, let’s call it the shifter weight, it shifted its paired weight, the primary weight, into an overbalancing position causing the wheel to turn.  Is there any reason why we cannot use gravity to achieve this end?  No.  Consider this:-

If a box of stones falls, we can calculate the work done on it by gravity as long as we know the total weight of the box and all the stones and the distance they fell.  But we can, alternatively, calculate the work done by gravity for each individual falling stone within the box and the box containing them, independently and separately, if we wish, whether it be balls, bricks, boxes, weights or anything else, even if they all fall at the same time and the same distance, as long as we know their respective weights and how far each fell – then we can calculate the work done on it by gravity - and in the same way we can regard the actions of the two types of weights independently. This means that gravity can cause the first shifter weight to fall, and in doing so, move its paired primary weight into a position which will unbalance the wheel.  Then, in a separate action,  gravity will act on that second primary weight and cause the wheel to rotate because it has been moved into a position which overbalances the wheel.  The shifter weight has taken over the role that your hand played in the above scenario. 

There is no conflict with the fact that gravity is a conservative force because each movement of each type of weight takes place separately and the energy is conserved in each case. The closed path test is often applied to gravity-driven rotating devices to prove that it cannot be done, but in this case, as I have described, the paths of both types of weights are assisted to become closed paths by their mutual interaction.  The primary weight follows a closed path because it is assisted in closing the path by being moved by the fall of the shifter weight.  The shifter weight follows a closed path because it is assisted to a full circle by the overbalancing of the primary weights which cause the wheel to rotate. These are two open paths or loops, closed by each other’s separate actions.

Remember the above quote “whatever it (gravity) delivers along the way must be re-input to complete the cycle”?  The wheel was rotated by the overbalancing position of the primary weight.  In order for the primary weight to be able to re-input what it delivered along the way, it was lifted at or just after the six o’clock position, by the action of the shifter weight.  The shifter weight was able to lift the primary weight again because it was returned to its ready-to-fall position by the rotation of the wheel, which was caused by the imbalance of the primary weight. While returning to its former ready-to-fall position the shifter weight pushed out the primary weight towards the edge of the wheel again ready for its ‘power arc’ again.

To return to kiiking, the person on the swing, raises his body as quickly as possible at the six o’clock point by straightening his legs, just as the primary weight is lifted by the fall of the shifter weight at the same point. Again, at the twelve o’clock point the swinger squats in order to shorten the pendulum by the three o’clock point - and this action is mimicked by the primary weight which is moved by the shifter weight falling.

Please accept my apologies for describing sequence of events repeatedly, but I want to be clear about this.

The above explanation removes the problem man has sought to overcome for years; how to use gravity to drive a wheel continuously without coming into conflict with the fact that gravity is a conservative force.  It sidesteps the problem and provides the solution.

Copyright © 2010 John Collins

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