You can’t break the laws of thermodynamics, says Bob Brockie
Next time you visit the US don’t miss the Museum of Unworkable Devices, the brainchild of physics Professor Donald Simanek from the University of Pennsylvania.
For centuries, scientists and tinkerers have dreamed of building perpetual motion machines or machines which will put out more energy than goes into them. Professor Simanek’s museum is full of these devices, none of which work.
You can see models of Fludd’s closed cycle flourmill, various buoyancy and capillary motors, Sinclair’s siphon, overbalanced wheels, the Schadewald gravity engine, Cheng’s magnetic shield engine and many more. None of them work because their creators misunderstood or did not know about the laws of physics (well the laws of thermodynamics and energy conservation) which say you can’t get more energy out of a system than you put into it. Professor Simanek uses his museum to teach his students why any such device can never work as their inventors intended.
But there are some remarkable hucksters about who make a good living by selling perpetual motion machines to a naïve public. For 14 years Dennis Lee’s American company, Better World Technologies has touted cars that run without fuel or batteries. “Never pay an electricity bill again,” he trumpets as he sells his all but finished electric generators that produce “15 times as much electricity as you need at no cost”.
Lee claims to be a self-educated God-fearing genius, fighting against the pompous, closed-mind scientific establishment and a vast corporate conspiracy which is trying to suppress world shaking inventions.
He argues that perpetual motion is not the big deal scientists make it out to be. Lee thinks that the “free” invisible energy of gravity is always there and he taps into this energy to make his machines run.
But physicists have found no evidence of any invisible “free energy”. They tell us that gravity is not a source of energy at all and that the laws of physics will never allow a machine to be built on Earth that runs off gravity.
In his many years on the road, nobody has ever seen any of Lee’s machines working. He claims that his machines are just on the verge of final development but still need a few tweaks and refinements. Nevertheless, Lee has no trouble selling $100,000 “dealerships” for his technology.
It has been pointed out that, as far as is known, all Better World Technology dealers still get their power from local electricity companies.
Originally published in the Dominion Post, 2 May 2003