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Thread: Need help, generating electricity.

  1. #1 Need help, generating electricity. 
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    Hi,

    I'm working on a project and I need some help. Picture a steep ramp, now if a weighted sphere object (Marble, ball etc) were to roll down this ramp, how can I use that spheres energy to create electricity. I was thinking that the ramp could be made of some sort of material that reacts with the ball. I had another idea that the ramp could be like blades of grass reacting to the ball somehow. Maybe the ball could be made of a conductor. I don't know. I've got a concept but I don't have the knowledge of physics to make it work. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. There is also more to figure out on this project but this is the first challenge.

    Average Joe Scientist

    Okay, first off thanks to all who have replied so fast. Maybe I should elaborate a little farther though. Lets say that the ramp is more like a teetor- totter. I need to generate enough voltage (12v) with the ball to pulse an actuator underneath the ramp sending the ball back where it came from. Is there any way to utilize all of the energy that is available during this process. The ball has force on impact at the end of the ramp, can it ram into something and convert to electricity as well as the energy during its flight down the ramp. I need to be able to redirect as much energy as possible.

    Thanks again to all who reply.

    P.S. the scale depicted here ( marble and small ramp) is not vital. The sphere and ramp can be any size to acheive the goal.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree SuperNatendo's Avatar
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    I'm not sure this will work... you need to understand, to produce electricity using kinetic or mechanical energy, usually you need magnetic induction.

    This can be either linear, such as in those led flashlights you shake to power, or a rotating magnetic field, such as found in turbines, alternators, etc...

    The linear method has a magnet in a tube, with a coil of copper wire halfway through the tube. As the magnet's two poles pass back and forth through the coil, electricity is produced.

    A rotating magnetic field generates electricity by coiling up copper wire in a coil, and placing magnets around the coil and rotating the magnets around the copper to excite the electrons.

    In any case, it is the act of the magnetic poles constantly moving along the coil that causes the electricity, your ball on a slope can only go one way... I'm not sure how you could get the ball to produce a magnetically induced electric charge when it only goes down. And even if you could manage it, it would most likely be less efficient than modern turbines or alternators.


    "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." - Mark Twain
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  4. #3  
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    Do you need to get a useful amount of electricity out of it, or just demonstrate the generation of electricity.

    A permanent magnet generator is about the simplest kind you could make. Here is a link about homemade PMGs which may give you some ideas.
    http://www.scoraigwind.com/pmgbooklet/itpmg.pdf

    A simple form of a PMG can be made just by wrapping a coil of wire around a bar magnet. If the magnet is moved nearer or further away from a piece of iron, it will change the magnetic flux in the coil of wire, producing a voltage. You could mount the bar magnet with coil of wire under the ramp and roll iron balls over top of it. This would generate a little bit of electricity, not much.
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  5. #4  
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    I hope you do a basic calculation to determine how much electrical energy you can derive from a single marble rolling down a small ramp. You can do this from potential energy considerations. Your answer will be: an incredibly small amount.

    For this minute scale, maybe you want to use the piezoelectric effect. The marble rolls freely down a ramp and finally strikes a piezo crystal such as quartz. The impulse generates a small pulse of electricity which can be detected by a sensitive instrument. This is very simple to set up.

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  6. #5 Re: Need help, generating electricity. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Averagejoescientist
    Hi,

    I'm working on a project and I need some help. Picture a steep ramp, now if a weighted sphere object (Marble, ball etc) were to roll down this ramp, how can I use that spheres energy to create electricity. I was thinking that the ramp could be made of some sort of material that reacts with the ball. I had another idea that the ramp could be like blades of grass reacting to the ball somehow. Maybe the ball could be made of a conductor. I don't know. I've got a concept but I don't have the knowledge of physics to make it work. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. There is also more to figure out on this project but this is the first challenge.

    Average Joe Scientist
    You could make it strike a barbecue static igniter. That will put a spark into your life.
    Just do not use an electrical test meter. The spark may charge the case, and cause a shock to the holder. If you have to check it with a meter, hold only one test lead at any time. Keep your knees off the floor. Stand on dry ground in good dry work boots, dry cement is a nice medium. Do not lean up against metal or grounded outlet boxes, or metal work tables or draws.





    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
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