Perpetuum Mobile – between marvel and deception

The Perpetual Motion Machine – a heavily debated topic and an ongoing strife for its realization at the same time. One can look at it from many different viewpoints and this article attempts to elucidate a few aspects of this interesting phenomenon. It is meant to instigate thoughts and discussions and appropriate feedback is very much appreciated as are other related ideas and inventions.

As fascinating as the idea of perpetual motion and consequently the concept of free energy sounds one cannot neglect the theoretical and commonly accepted laws of physics that have brought us to the state of science of today. Consequently we also have to examine the concept of a perpetual motion machine under this light. According to the first law of thermodynamics energy cannot be created nor destroyed – it can only be converted to different forms. According to the second law of thermodynamics these forms of energy can be generally divided into exergy and anergy and while assimilating a system to its environment the exergy will decrease while the anergy increases. Anergy cannot be transformed into work (= exergy).

Taking into consideration these basic laws of thermodynamics it provides enough knowledge to reasonably argue against the possibility of the existence of a perpetual motion machine. Since no energy within a closed system can be produced out of nowhere, a machine couldn’t provide enough energy to maintain itself while overcoming its own energy dissipation let alone additionally propelling any form of generator. If one would take it a step further and try to recover the energy that has been transformed into heat through dissipative processes one would arrive at the limits of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that anergy cannot be re-transformed into exergy or in other words: The process of transforming work to heat is irreversible.

So why bother even trying to build such machines?! It is a valid question that everyone has to answer for himself. As for me – a student of engineering who believes to be familiar with at least the basic laws of physics – I cannot help but being fascinated at the sophisticated attempts of people putting forth their knowledge and creativity to build such machines.

Here is a fascinating example: Reidar Finsrud from Norway and his perpetual motion machine

And a website with many other ideas:

To stimulate your minds a bit more here’s another interesting thought:

The above mentioned laws of thermodynamics are defined within a closed system, however where exactly one chooses to draw the border of the system is up to oneself as long as one is consistent with it. For example if one takes an electric engine and draws the border around the rotor without knowledge of the magnetic field that is induced by the stator, it could be considered a perpetual motion machine because one would not understand the reason for the motion. Referring to this simple example, couldn’t it be possible that we create a machine that seems to us like a perpetuum mobile because it uses energy sources that we don’t fully understand, yet (e.g. the field of quantum mechanics), and thus we simply haven’t drawn our system borders around it, yet?!

Please feel free to share your constructive thoughts and any creative ideas you might have or have heard of.

Let’s stay excited about life and all there is to discover!