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Topic: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW) (Read 2824 times) previous topic - next topic - Topic derived from Direct Down Wind Fast...

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Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Hello all.

My main interest is in a heat engine by Nicola Tesla. I happened to be reading about it on this other forum: https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/perpetual-motion-machine and came across a post referencing DDWFTTW.

" ... I very much know a man who built a wind-powered device with no stored energy that could outrun the wind that was powering it running directly downwind! ...." etc.

on the second page.

I'm in a similar situation in that I've become convinced that Tesla's "Self Acting" heat engine could work, but it seems like the only way to ever find out one way or the other, for sure, would be to build the damn thing. Tesla worked on it for years, but apparently never finished it.

Anyway that's how I ended up here as well as due to an invite from Rick Cavallaro on YouTube. Now I suppose I'll backtrack a bit and see what's been going on.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #1
Hello all.

Alright - you made it!

Quote
I'm in a similar situation in that I've become convinced that Tesla's "Self Acting" heat engine could work...

I'm convinced it can't.  Keep in mind that Tesla was a genius, but also a wacko.

Quote
Now I suppose I'll backtrack a bit and see what's been going on.

Very little good could come from backtracking on this thread.  I'd strongly recommend you just jump in with any questions or assertions.  There are a bunch of very sharp folks here.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #2
Hello all.

Alright - you made it!

Quote
I'm in a similar situation in that I've become convinced that Tesla's "Self Acting" heat engine could work...

I'm convinced it can't.  Keep in mind that Tesla was a genius, but also a wacko.


LOL...

This probably isn't the place to debate the issue but on what basis are you convinced Tesla's engine can't work? Just curious. Perhaps it would be better to open another thread.

Personally I think Tesla may have been right in principle but made some wrong assumptions when it came to practical application.

Kind of like; at first glance, my assumption was that this downwind faster than the wind cart operated by the wind turning the prop which turned the wheels. Seems obvious that would be how it could work, if at all, but the reality is just the opposite. Tesla made a similar wrong assumption thinking that a refrigerating machine could actually pump heat out of an insulated "cold hole" as he called it. Refrigeration doesn't actually work that way.
  • Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 08:42:36 PM by Tom Booth

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #3
...on what basis are you convinced Tesla's engine can't work? Just curious.

If I understand correctly, Tesla claims to have found a way to get around the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  If that's the case I'm extremely skeptical.  While the downwind cart has that perpetual motion *feel* to it, it makes no such claim.  It's just a brain-teaser and definitely doesn't give you something for nothing.   But perhaps I misunderstand what Tesla was claiming of his engine.


Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #4
...on what basis are you convinced Tesla's engine can't work? Just curious.

If I understand correctly, Tesla claims to have found a way to get around the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  If that's the case I'm extremely skeptical.  While the downwind cart has that perpetual motion *feel* to it, it makes no such claim.  It's just a brain-teaser and definitely doesn't give you something for nothing.   But perhaps I misunderstand what Tesla was claiming of his engine.



I think Tesla's idea hinged on the fundamental nature of heat.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was formulated on the foundation stone laid by Carnot, that heat is some form of indestructible fluid and that in the process of passing through a heat engine, heat is conserved. What goes in one side must come out the other, exactly like water over a water wheel, and that to operate a heat engine we don't just need heat, but we also need an equal amount of cold to take that heat away, in the same manner that a turbine needs, not only an inlet but an outlet.

As it turned out, all of these assumptions regarding heat, turned out to be wrong. Tesla was quick to recognize this and hypothesized that if heat was a form of energy which could be changed, then all the heat flowing into a heat engine does not pass through and come out the other side but some of the heat is converted and can be removed in some other form. In other words, it is not necessary that a finite "cold hole" be destroyed in operating a heat engine  between ambient heat and say, a block of ice.

In other words the heat energy extracted from the ambient medium could be used to operate a refrigeration machine, as necessary, to keep the ice cold and prevent it from melting. This would likely be difficult to engineer and the amount of energy that could be extracted in such a way would be small, but, he argued that it was theoretically possible and that although relatively small, the energy gained would be steady and virtually unlimited, replenished on a daily basis by the sun, the machine would operate day and night though indirectly powered by the heat from the sun that warms our atmosphere.

  • Brother Daniel
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Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #5
The posts above were split off from the DDWFTTW thread.

  • Brother Daniel
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Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #6
Hi Tom.  Welcome to TR.

Regarding this "heat engine":  I must confess that I don't know what this thing is supposed to be or do, or how it is supposed to work, so I can't really say much about it specifically.

But I will say this about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:  Regardless of any flaws in whatever ideas may have originally motivated the formulation of the 2LoT, the 2LoT itself is very well established.  If the "heat engine" is supposed to get around the 2LoT somehow, then I share spork's skepticism of it.

  • MikeS
Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #7
The term "2lot whore" wasn't invented for nothing.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #8
Oh By Geezus, now we have a full crackpot convention!
What is amazing to me is how sporky and BD can be right about doubting this, while so wrong about their very own over unity crackpot claim.

Basically, there needs to be an energy Differential for any engine to work.

You cannot run an engine on ambient temperature, because there is no temperature differential to exploit, (AMBIENT-AMBIENT = 0) just as you cannot run a cart Directly Faster than the wind because once the cart reaches wind speed, there is no differential wind to exploit. (WINDSPEED-WINDSPEED = 0)

You would need to Input some energy to get any energy out, and the energy out is always LESS then what you need to put in.

End of story and sporky and Tom lived happily ever after in fantasy land.








Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #9
The term "2lot whore" wasn't invented for nothing.

Ya, you should have thought of that before you laid down with the ddw whore and caught a horrible disease that rotted your mind.

  • MikeS
Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #10
The term "2lot whore" wasn't invented for nothing.

Ya, you should have thought of that before you laid down with the ddw whore and caught a horrible disease that rotted your mind.
Keep it in the cart thread champ.
There's a good case to move all your "explanatory" posts into Alt-Science.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #11
Certainly have a candidate for the crackpot convention now that Heinz has joined in.
I look forward to his in-depth analysis of the failings of the Tesla engine.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #12
Now that HH has chimed in, I think this Tesla engine might have something going for it.... ;) 

Not really...I'm very skeptical of anything claiming to violate the 2lot, unless it can actually be demonstrated.

Got a good link? I checked the link in the OP of the linked forum above, and it's mostly just crackpot conspiracy theory, so something that explains the actual physics?

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #13
...the energy gained would be steady and virtually unlimited, replenished on a daily basis by the sun, the machine would operate day and night though indirectly powered by the heat from the sun that warms our atmosphere.

The notion that it would be powered by the Sun makes it seem a whole lot less ludicrous, but I do believe the 2nd law requires heat to transfer from a hot reservoir to a cold one in order to extract energy.  But I'm not the expert on this.

  • CORed
Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #14
A quick google search turned up a highly speculative article written by Tesla in 1900, wherein he stated that since Linde had succeeded in liquefying air, he though it would be possible to use the process to create a heat sink for a heat engine (I'm summarizing and paraphrasing heavily). I don't believe that Tesla understood how Linde was cooling the air, though, as you can't achieve a net gain of energy by refrigerating a heat sink to run a heat engine (that pesky 2nd law of thermodynamics), any more than you could do it by pumping water uphill to run a water turbine. I'm not sure if Tesla explored this idea any more thoroughly than the one article I found. The fact that it is from 1900 is somewhat encouraging, as Tesla hadn't gone completely off the deep end at that time. I would be highly skeptical of anything from Tesla much later than that. As he got older, the wacko part of his personality seemed to overwhelm the genius part.

  • CORed
Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #15
...the energy gained would be steady and virtually unlimited, replenished on a daily basis by the sun, the machine would operate day and night though indirectly powered by the heat from the sun that warms our atmosphere.

The notion that it would be powered by the Sun makes it seem a whole lot less ludicrous, but I do believe the 2nd law requires heat to transfer from a hot reservoir to a cold one in order to extract energy.  But I'm not the expert on this.

I'm not an expert either, but your understanding matches mine. The article I mentioned in my other post seemed to be a rather general statement from Tesla that he thought it was possible, not that he actually knew how to do it or had built such an engine. Tesla had a habit of making extravagant claims in articles and press interviews, and free energy nuts tend to latch onto these things as if they are gospel.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #16
...the energy gained would be steady and virtually unlimited, replenished on a daily basis by the sun, the machine would operate day and night though indirectly powered by the heat from the sun that warms our atmosphere.

The notion that it would be powered by the Sun makes it seem a whole lot less ludicrous, but I do believe the 2nd law requires heat to transfer from a hot reservoir to a cold one in order to extract energy.  But I'm not the expert on this.

This is true: i.e; "the 2nd law requires heat to transfer from a hot reservoir to a cold one in order to extract energy", However, Tesla reasoned that because heat is CONVERTED in the process, there is an inherent imbalance that could be exploited.

The way to exploit that imbalance, he reasoned, would be to first expend some energy to create an artificial heat sink or "cold hole".

Basically he's talking about running a freezer until it gets cold. He acknowledges that there must be a temperature difference without which nothing will happen.

Once established though, a heat engine placed between the "cold hole" or freezer box and the heat of the atmosphere could operate, and once set in operation the heat energy flowing into the engine would be converted to some other form of energy other than heat; such as mechanical motion which could in turn run a dynamo to generate electricity.

A perfectly efficient heat engine attached to a perfectly insulated ice-chest could, in theory run indefinitely on the inexhaustible supply of ambient heat available from the air in our atmosphere.

But, we don't know of any perfect insulating material, nor have we any perfect heat engine.

Tesla continued to reason however, that due to the imbalance created because SOME of the incoming heat would be CONVERTED, heat passing through the heat engine and into the artificial "cold hole" could be removed from the cold hole by its own energy, leaving a small surplus Energy converted into something other than HEAT which would never enter the cold hole (or ice box) at all.

In other words he believed that with such an arrangement, a heat engine powered by ambient heat could produce enough surplus energy to power its own refrigeration system to keep its own ice-box cold with some small amount of energy left over that could be used to generate motive power and produce electricity.

The artificial heat sink, he determined, could be maintained with just a portion of the energy extracted from the ambient medium, the rest would be clear gain.

In the end, it seems he abandoned the project, only because he felt that the power that could be produced in such a way would be too little to make it worthwhile investing more time and resources in the project, though he worked on this for years and continued to believe that it could work.

There are a number of historic examples which suggest that Tesla may have been right, and I think we even have a few examples of what might be considered working models or prototypes, especially if it can be maintained that evaporation is a form of heat conversion driven by ambient heat.

When water evaporates, heat energy is locked away during the state change. I think it is quite feasible that a Stirling engine could power a swamp cooler, a type of evaporative cooler, the Stirling engine itself operating on the temperature difference between the cold air from the swamp cooler and the warmer ambient air assuming favorable atmospheric conditions.

  • Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 11:11:01 AM by Tom Booth

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #17
Now that HH has chimed in, I think this Tesla engine might have something going for it.... ;) 

Not really...I'm very skeptical of anything claiming to violate the 2lot, unless it can actually be demonstrated.

Got a good link? I checked the link in the OP of the linked forum above, and it's mostly just crackpot conspiracy theory, so something that explains the actual physics?

Tesla, in that 1900 article, claims that he nearly had this machine fully completed just before his workshop burned down. He describes all the components that went into it and discusses the theory behind it at length.

Ive read a number of articles that purport to explain how Tesla's engine worked, but they generally make much less sense than Tesla himself.

What intrigues me most is that I can not find any record of anyone attempting to build any engine according to Tesla's specifications. No failed attempts. It seems no one ever pursued this since Tesla set it aside more than 100 years ago. He concluded his article "The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter--for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way."

It seems to me it would be relatively easy to build a prototype. I haven't been able to find any record of anyone having ever tried, which leaves me feeling that it should be done, just on principle.

  • CORed
Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #18
...the energy gained would be steady and virtually unlimited, replenished on a daily basis by the sun, the machine would operate day and night though indirectly powered by the heat from the sun that warms our atmosphere.

The notion that it would be powered by the Sun makes it seem a whole lot less ludicrous, but I do believe the 2nd law requires heat to transfer from a hot reservoir to a cold one in order to extract energy.  But I'm not the expert on this.

This is true: i.e; "the 2nd law requires heat to transfer from a hot reservoir to a cold one in order to extract energy", However, Tesla reasoned that because heat is CONVERTED in the process, there is an inherent imbalance that could be exploited.

The way to exploit that imbalance, he reasoned, would be to first expend some energy to create an artificial heat sink or "cold hole".

Basically he's talking about running a freezer until it gets cold. He acknowledges that there must be a temperature difference without which nothing will happen.

Once established though, a heat engine placed between the "cold hole" or freezer box and the heat of the atmosphere could operate, and once set in operation the heat energy flowing into the engine would be converted to some other form of energy other than heat; such as mechanical motion which could in turn run a dynamo to generate electricity.

A perfectly efficient heat engine attached to a perfectly insulated ice-chest could, in theory run indefinitely on the inexhaustible supply of ambient heat available from the air in our atmosphere.

But, we don't know of any perfect insulating material, nor have we any perfect heat engine.

Tesla continued to reason however, that due to the imbalance created because SOME of the incoming heat would be CONVERTED, heat passing through the heat engine and into the artificial "cold hole" could be removed from the cold hole by its own energy, leaving a small surplus Energy converted into something other than HEAT would never enter the cold hole (or ice box) at all.

In other words he believed that with such an arrangement, a heat engine powered by ambient heat could produce enough surplus energy to power its own refrigeration system to keep its own ice-box cold with some small amount of energy left over that could be used to generate motive power and produce electricity.

The artificial heat sink, he determined, could be maintained with just a portion of the energy extracted from the ambient medium, the rest would be clear gain.

In the end, it seems he abandoned the project, only because he felt that the power that could be produced in such a way would be too little to make it worthwhile investing more time and resources in the project, though he worked on this for years and continued to believe that it could work.

There are a number of historic examples which suggest that Tesla may have been right, and I think we even have a few examples of what might be considered working models or prototypes, especially if it can be maintained that evaporation is a form of heat conversion driven by ambient heat.

When water evaporates, heat energy is locked away during the state change. I think it is quite feasible that a Stirling engine could power a swamp cooler, a type of evaporative cooler, the Stirling engine itself operating on the temperature difference between the cold air from the swamp cooler and the warmer ambient air assuming favorable atmospheric conditions.



None of the things you proposed will work. Even with the "100% efficiency, perfect insulator" scenarios, the net energy is zero. In the real world, it's always negative. The laws of thermodynamics are well established. While no one can say with absolute certainty that exceptions won't be found, I would certainly be willing to lay long odds against it.
Simplification of 1st and second laws of thermodynamics.
First law: You can't get something for nothing.
Second law: You can't break even either.

The DDWFTTW cart looks similar to a lot of proposed perpetual motion (aka free energy or over unity) schemes, because of the feedback loop where the wheels drive the prop, which drives the prop, which drives the cart, which drives the wheels ...

But that prop isn't just part of a feed back loop. It's harvesting energy from the wind (relative motion of air and ground), Without wind, it doesn't work. Even if you push it to a pretty good speed, it will run down and stop pretty quickly in no wind.

Without an external energy source, no such scheme will work, whether it's using a water turbine to pump water uphill to run the water turbine, using a stirling engine to drive a refrigerator to keep the heat sink for the stirling engine cold, electrolyzing water to make hydrogen to burn in an engine to run a generator to electrolyze water, or generator-electric motor-generator loops. will produce energy. At best, if everything runs at high efficiency and the system can store some energy, such schemes will appear to work for a little while, until the whole works slows to a stop. With 100% efficiency (not achievable because of that pesky 2nd law), the net energy is always zero. In the real world, it's always negative.

  • CORed
Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #19
Now that HH has chimed in, I think this Tesla engine might have something going for it.... ;) 

Not really...I'm very skeptical of anything claiming to violate the 2lot, unless it can actually be demonstrated.

Got a good link? I checked the link in the OP of the linked forum above, and it's mostly just crackpot conspiracy theory, so something that explains the actual physics?

Tesla, in that 1900 article, claims that he nearly had this machine fully completed just before his workshop burned down. He describes all the components that went into it and discusses the theory behind it at length.

Ive read a number of articles that purport to explain how Tesla's engine worked, but they generally make much less sense than Tesla himself.

What intrigues me most is that I can not find any record of anyone attempting to build any engine according to Tesla's specifications. No failed attempts. It seems no one ever pursued this since Tesla set it aside more than 100 years ago. He concluded his article "The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter--for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way."

It seems to me it would be relatively easy to build a prototype. I haven't been able to find any record of anyone having ever tried, which leaves me feeling that it should be done, just on principle.

Well, maybe nobody's built it. Maybe people have, and abandoned the effort after finding that it didn't work. Again, as spork said, Tesla was both a genius and a wacko. He deserves a lot of credit for inventing the electrical power system that we are still using (with some improvements, to be sure) today, and for pioneering work in radio, high frequency AC and significant contributions in many other engineering endeavors, but he certainly pursued a lot of stuff that never worked out, and his more extravagant claims need to be taken with a large grain of salt, especially when those claims appear to be in conflict with well established science.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #20
On a really weird related note, i recently read a book "the 4th phase of water" which could support in a very limited way, the idea of converting energy from ambient temperature assuming that meant light in infrared wavelength form. It's as far out there as is possible for serious science to get without actually being on the wingnut spectrum but I don't think there is directly refuting evidence out there. Actually,  if it turns out to lead anywhere,  it will be revolutionary in a lot of fields.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=4th+phase+of+water&tag=hydsma-20&index=aps&hvadid=174651121127&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=9524764106021438869&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9061081&hvtargid=kwd-110948617716&ref=pd_sl_509fbj8wqq_e&gclid=CjwKCAjw7MDPBRAFEiwAppdF9DJO-Dbhac6hSRc65slu_3vooGaPofgACu4Sq0GYy4tV-WyNBtif1hoCpn0QAvD_BwE
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #21
    ...and I think we even have a few examples of what might be considered working models or prototypes, especially if it can be maintained that evaporation is a form of heat conversion driven by ambient heat.

When water evaporates, heat energy is locked away during the state change. I think it is quite feasible that a Stirling engine could power a swamp cooler, a type of evaporative cooler, the Stirling engine itself operating on the temperature difference between the cold air from the swamp cooler and the warmer ambient air assuming favorable atmospheric conditions.



None of the things you proposed will work....
(...)
Without an external energy source, no such scheme will work,... using a stirling engine to drive a refrigerator to keep the heat sink for the stirling engine cold,...

I'm thinking that certainly you do not include a Stirling Engine operating on the temperature differential between Ambient Heat and say... a coolgardie refrigerator in the above indictment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolgardie_safe

Ambient heat is what "powers" passive evaporative cooling. Certainly you can recognize that a temperature difference can exist between ambient air and water as it evaporates and that a Stirling engine could run on this temperature differential whether occurring naturally or augmented by the Stirling engine itself. Certainly you don't deny that a Stirling engine can "run on" evaporative cooling.

Passive evaporative cooling takes zero energy from the Stirling engine. If it could run at all it could certainly power a small fan which would speed up evaporation and increase the cooling effect increasing the power which could increase the speed of the fan increasing the cooling effect further...


Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #22
If a temperature gradient exists then you can install a heat engine and watch it run.  Close the system and it will continue to run until equilibrium and then stop.  If the system is not closed then the engine will continue to run so long as there is energy input into the open system which maintains the thermal gradient.

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #23
If a temperature gradient exists then you can install a heat engine and watch it run.  Close the system and it will continue to run until equilibrium and then stop.  If the system is not closed then the engine will continue to run so long as there is energy input into the open system which maintains the thermal gradient.


I'm inclined to think that this supports Tesla's idea in principle:

"If a temperature gradient exists then you can install a heat engine and watch it run."

It would exist after the freezer or whatever is operated for some time to create it.

"Close the system and it will continue to run until equilibrium and then stop."

Tesla does not seem to be proposing a "Closed System" as he proposes "a rapid circulation of the medium". that is, additional warm ambient air would be continually drawn into the system from the atmosphere.

"If the system is not closed then the engine will continue to run so long as there is energy input into the open system which maintains the thermal gradient."

He certainly proposed using some of the energy gained from the circulation of "the ambient medium" to maintain the thermal gradient as necessary.


[/quote]

Re: Tesla's heat engine (split from DDWFTTW)
Reply #24
The description you gave has some of the standard earmarks of a perpetual motion scheme.  You're describing sub-systems which are powered by the heat engine, and that then allow the heat engine to work.  But I say we draw a box around the whole thing.  This machine would just sit there cooling down the ambient temperature and producing work.  But that violates the 2nd law.