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Thread: Solar engine question

  1. #1 Solar engine question 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about this for a little while now, and can't see any reason why it wouldn't work. So I'd like to ask if anyone else can, as well as if it sounds feasible.

    The device is simply a large piston connected to a large flywheel. The piston is completely sealed. During the daytime, sunlight heats the piston causing the air to expand inside, pushing the piston up. At night, the cooler air causes the air inside the piston to contract, pulling it down. (Obviously, it'd do best in a desert where the days are really hot and the nights really cold.) If the flywheel could maintain a precise enough speed (1 rev/day), do you think this set-up could generate a reasonable amount of power compared to its size? (At least, compared to other solar generators.)


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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman Captain_Anubis's Avatar
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    I think that would be terribly difficult to time right. At the end of the day / night you would have to have the wheel at the extreme position in the cycle that it needs to be at otherwise the machine would start working backwards... :S


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    you can better us the normal expansion of metal as a power scource. Extremely cheap to set up. But you only get a small amount of power.

    I think the power you can get from it is a lot less than a normal solar panel
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    But still greater than the expansion of a contained gas?
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  6. #5  
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    It will produce energy, but probably not remotely close to be efficient economically.

    What you describe is basically a Sterling motor, and one could make it work by focusing a lot of sunlight, with the help of mirrors, or glass, onto the cylinder.


    Another, existing way to use the hear of the sun to produce power, is to cover the ground with a transparent material, a few feet above ground. In the middle of this large sheet is a tall hollow tower. In the tower is a fan, which is being turned by the hot air moving upwards. There was a project in Australia, called the environmission tower.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    I've read some about that project. I'm not sure I see how that can possibly be efficient enough, but then I don't really know all of the math involved. Still, it's an interesting idea.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    :? noo need for math, i bet they just tested the project in small to see what would happen and see if it was any efficient.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  9. #8  
    Forum Isotope Zelos's Avatar
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    WRONG
    math is allways needed
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

    The king of posting
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  10. #9  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    :? is't it more fun to have an idea, work it out, and just test it.. without the endless math?
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  11. #10  
    Forum Isotope Zelos's Avatar
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    nope several reasons
    1: its boring
    2: it iwll most likly explode or fail catasphofy
    3: to get it right u need numbers. numbers have an amazing power.
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

    The king of posting
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  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    I agree. It would require a lot of math to get my idea to work at all, regardless of efficiency. After all, as was pointed out above, the flywheel has to maintain exactly 1 revolution per day. There's no way you could get that by chance, or hardly even by trail and error.

    Unfortunately, even though I understand math, I don't know enough of the physics involved to work it all out. :?
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    :? ofcourse, at a flywheel most things can be worked out due to maths, but the way it preserves energy and the energy that has to be put into the flywheel can't be calculated exactly, it has to be tested and ajusted...
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  14. #13  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Other than the fact that nothing can be calculated exactly, why couldn't it be calculated closely enough? You can calculate its moment of inertia, the friction with the air, the friction with the bearings, the amount of work removed by the generator (including waste), the amount of work applied by the piston as a function of time, etc. It preserves energy due to the conservation of angular momentum. Assuming that there aren't any major unknowns, it should be possible to work everything out in advance.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    sounds reasonable enought.. might be possible for most things.. but not for all..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  16. #15  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    WRONG
    math is allways needed
    To what extent did the Wright brothers use maths in the development of powered flight?

    What was the role of maths in the work of Holmes, Wilson and others when developing plate tectonic theory?

    I believe your statement may be flawed by virtue of its absolute character.
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