[extropy-chat] Casimir Torque Project

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Wed May 4 20:50:38 UTC 2005

--- Hal Finney <hal at finney.org> wrote:
> I gather that you realize that this is a perpetual motion machine of
> the
> first kind - it violates conservation of energy.

You didn't read my full explanation.  ;)

As I said, it does not.  It's a convertor of energy.  Energy source
in: quantum fluctuations.  Energy source out: mechanical (which is then
converted to electrical).

Now, what happens when quantum fluctuations are drained of energy?
Nobody knows - but there were laboratory experiments in the 80s and 90s
showing that it is possible to at least take local QFs to a different
potential energy state.  (Google on "Casimir effect", or check
Wikipedia.)  There is a chance that there's only so much energy that
can be drained from that source, and that nothing will refill it; if
so, then this would not work.  But there have been theories that, were
QFs to be tapped like that, replacement energy would diffuse in from
outside.  (To a limit, of course: if you placed the entire system in a
QF-impermeable box, you'd eventually use up all of the energy.)

Again, at this point it looks like the only real way to see what will
happen is to actually build it and observe.  I've lost track of how
much time I spent going over the theoretical problems, but in the end,
science is about actual experiments.

> I'm not saying that you can't spend
> your
> time doing whatever you like, but people should not expect this
> machine
> to work.

I'm not betting the farm that it will work, unless and until I can
produce a working prototype.  (One of the factors slowing progress is
that I'm doing this on the side, while a different job pays the bills.)
I definitely agree: no one should be betting anything on my success
until after the fact - *if* it happens.  At the moment, I haven't even
taken any funding - it's all out of my own pocket.  (There have been
discussions about getting some funding for the NEMS development alone,
the project itself aside.  It looks like I definitely will wind up with
a non-trivial nanostructure, in any event.)

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