The Physics of a Puzzling Perpetual Motion Machine #MakerEducation

Interesting read from WIRED.

Perpetual motion—it’s fun to say that. For some people, perpetual motion machines hold the secret to everlasting free energy that will save the world. To them, it’s a machine that is just beyond our grasp. If only we could tweak our design just a little bit, it would work. To others (like me), perpetual motion machines are impossible—they don’t fit with our well-tested ideas of the conservation of energy. However, they can still make a fun puzzle, as you see above.

OK, so exactly what is a perpetual motion machine? The basic idea is that these machines can operate in some manner (say with a spinning wheel) forever without an energy source. That’s not so impossible, just not very easy (since machines always lose energy to friction). A better perpetual motion machine not only works forever, but also has a positive energy output (even if just a small amount) so that it can save the world—but like I said, these don’t exist.

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