The mechanics of the swing

The mechanics of this action is described thus. Assume a clockwise rotation in the discussions that follow - and for our purposes, an arc is a portion of the circumference of a circle. A pendulum weight dropped from the three o’clock position falls under the influence of gravity until it reaches the six o’clock position; after that it continues under its own impetus to climb for a limited period against gravity before falling back. So from three to six o’clock I shall call this the ‘power’ arc; and after the six o’clock position I shall refer to it afig 5as the ‘momentum’ arc. If the pendulum is of a certain length during the power arc and it is then shortened by a certain amount after the six o’clock position, in the momentum arc, and angular momentum will carry the bob as high, or higher, than its starting point in the power arc. The angular momentum is the same at every point in an arc, so when the bob is closer to the pivot it increases in speed. The action of a spinning ice-skater whose rotational speed increases when his or her, arms are drawn in towards the body is a well-known example of this. I have drawn the pendulum and its arc, twice in the adjacent picture fig 5, to show the length variation in the two arcs. As will be seen in fig 6 below, the weight follows a unique orbit to achieve the pumping action described above.

In a wheel, once the pendulum has been shortened after the six o’clock point, the bob or weight, would remain in its shortened length all the way around the wheel until it arrived back at three o’clock.  At this point the pendulum would be extended, ready for the power arc to take effect again.  The weighfig 6t/bob would have followed the path of an inner orbit from six o’clock around to three o’clock, followed by a short stay in the outer orbit from three to six o’clock.  The weight on the shortened pendulum would be supported and carried forward and around by the presence of a number of similar mechanisms all attached to the same swing pivot. Bessler was strongly insistent that five such devices were necessary.

In practice the weight would begin to be pushed outwards as soon as it had passed the twelve o’clock position. This point will be enlarged upon later.

So, in a clockwise rotating wheel, each weight has to be raised at six o’clock and pushed out again, sideways at or before the three o’clock at each revolution. Designing something to do this has seemed like an unsolvable problem. How can it be achieved? The solution also resolves the conservative force issue. How can a weight-operated wheel run continuously without coming into conflict with the fact that gravity is a conservative force?


Copyright © 2010 John Collins

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