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Author Topic: Mechanical motion from thermal expansion  (Read 7267 times)

Offline onesnzeros

  • Jr. Member
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  • Posts: 78
Mechanical motion from thermal expansion
« on: July 03, 2008, 01:36:03 AM »
Something comes to mind when I think of the energy from the sun. Suppose that energy stikes a surface of metal that is coated with a highly absorbant finish. The metal heats up and when that happens the metal expands. How much? Very little.

BUT just suppose we amplify that expansion to many times using mechanical levers and geometry that can translate a small movement into a larger movement. Now with that measureable expansion, we can shift weight off balance to create a potential for movement. Convert that movement to rotational movement and now we have a motor that runs off of heat from the sun. To be sure, we would need a heat sink that returns the hot expanded metal back to its original cooler unexpanded state for reheating by the sun. The same surface coating however should be able to radiate the heat that it has gained and dissipate it to the environment providing it is 'seeing a cooler surface' or perhaps a little water and some evaporation would go a long way to cool it fast so that it can be recharged with more energy from the sun to cause it to expand again. I am wondering what efficiency could be attained by this purely mechanical device when compared to photovoltaics for example which ar around 17-20% efficienty? Not sure.

Anyhow, if this mechanical conversion of heat directly from the sun were to be exploited and achieve say 50% efficiency, then we have a ground breaking technology. Now take that technology and construct it from the most ordinary materials or design it to rely on recycled lmaterials and now you have a very marketable product.

I keep thinking of this idea. Maybe some one else has developed this as the world is a big place and we don't have enough time to read all the forums.

Cheers everyone.


Offline The Observer

  • Sr. Member
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  • Posts: 397
Re: Mechanical motion from thermal expansion
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2008, 02:44:13 AM »
Hey 1s and 0s,

Your post reminds me of an idea I had years ago.

     That is... a large grid of black pipes laid out in a field, who's pressure changes in relation to ambient temperature & sun exposure.
     Whether it is heating up or cooling down... there would always be a pressure or vacuum that could be tapped for energy.


           The Observer