Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Science in Art: A Perpetual Motion Machine

A moving sculpture by norwegian artist Mr. Reidar Finsrud. It appears to use a combination of gravity, magnets, and pendulum effects, which modern physics would say is impossible, to generate nearly continuous motion since 1996, when it was assembled.

(A steel ball (about 2.7 inch diameter, 20 pound) is rolling on an aluminum track, about 25 inches in diameter, placed horizontally. Three pendulums, about 45 inches long with tunable weights at the lower end, controls three horse-shoe magnets that the steel ball has to pass by on the track. Embedded in the track is a (mechanical) controlling/timing mechanism. It looks like a steel wire bent into a triangular track, 5 inches long. The ball rolls over it and pushes the wire down through a slot in the track. This affects one of the pendulums and regulates its swinging motion.)

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