This YouTube User Invented Dozens of “Perpetual Motion Machines”

December 16, 2015 | Joanne Kennell

A 'perpetual' motion machine with three small wheels rotating around a largest one
Photo credit: Screen capture from video by veproject1

But the question is, do they work?

YouTuber, veproject1, has uploaded almost 100 videos, with most displaying functional hypothetical machines that should not exist.

The creator of the machines — Valeriy Ivanov — is a Ukrainian engineer living in Canada, and according to the website, the purpose of the gadgets is, “to attract youth to Engineering and Science… [so they] can discuss the basic scientific principles upon which they are built.”

SEE ALSO: 10 of the Most Brilliant Rube Goldberg Machines

So do these contraptions work?  Well, first it is important to understand what is meant by “perpetual motion.”  Perpetual motion is the action of a device, that once set in motion, will continue in motion forever with no additional energy needed to keep it going.  However, these devices are said to be impossible as they violate the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

Thermodynamics studies the relationship between the energy and work (energy transferred to the surroundings) of a system.  Generally, it deals with the transfer of energy from one place to another and from one form to another.  

First Law of Thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics, or the law of conservation of energy, states the change in a system’s internal energy is equal to the difference between the heat added to the system from its surroundings and work done by the system on its surroundings.

What this means is that as a machine operates it can only do one of two things with its supply of energy: work or produce waste heat.  The total of the original energy, the work done, and the waste heat have to equal a constant — this is what is meant by saying the energy is conserved.  

However, machines that appear to violate this law are called perpetual motion machines of the first class.  This is because they produce work seemingly without the input of energy.  You can’t get something from nothing.

Second Law of Thermodynamics

The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of a closed system, or heat energy per unit temperature, increases over time toward some maximum value.  So, all closed systems tend toward an equilibrium state (input equals output) in which entropy is at a maximum and no remaining energy is available to do work.  

Perpetual motion machines that appear to violate the second law are known as perpetual motion machines of the second class.  This is because they supposedly spontaneously convert thermal energy to mechanical work; however, this is not possible.  When thermal energy is equivalent to the work done, this does not violate the first law, however, it does violate the second law.  

A perpetual motion machine is one where there is a single heat reservoir or source involved, which is being spontaneously cooled without involving a transfer of heat to a cooler reservoir.  This conversion of heat into work without any side effects is impossible.

Even though these “perpetual” motion machines eventually slow down and stop, they are very neat to watch in action.  But who knows, maybe a true perpetual motion machine will be possible if we learn that our laws of physics have been wrong this whole time.

Check out this short video by veproject1 of the top 10 perpetual motion machines for the year 2014.



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