Perpetual Motion Machines

Perpetual Motion Machines 4

PerpetualMotion Machines

Perpetualmotion is said to be a type of motion that continues to beexperienced without any external source of energy (Palmer, 2010). Inthis respect, therefore, perpetual motion machines are machines thatcontinue to move without stopping once a starting toque has beenapplied. Going by this definition, a perpetual motion machine is anideal kind of a machine that continues to deliver work indefinitelywithout any external source of energy. However, this is not possiblein practice because of frictional forces and other losses of energyencountered along the way. Scientists and inventors have sought tocome up with a machine that uses perpetual motion but their effortshave been thwarted before the inventions defy fundamental laws ofphysics. This paper makes an attempt to debunk the notion andmisconceptions of perpetual motion machines by considering the basiclaws of physics and thermodynamics.

Perpetualmotion machines violate the first and second laws of thermodynamics.There are myths that celestial bodies such as planets depictperpetual motion. This notion is wrong and scientifically incorrect. Planets, for example, are always under the influence of many forcessuch as gravitational force, electro-magnetic force, and solar windsamong other forces (Palmer, 2010). Therefore, it is not true thatrotation of the earth and revolution of planets in a form ofperpetual motion.

Thefirst law of thermodynamics points out that one cannot create nordestroy energy. Energy can only be used up in doing some work. Whenthe energy is used up, the work stops unless new energy is put intothe system. In this sense, therefore, there are no perpetual motionmachines. Despite the fact that perpetual motion machines cannot beachieved in practice, inventors have attempted to go against the lawsof thermodynamics to come up with ideas on how to make such machines(Smith, 2011).

Somescientists have tried to argue that perpetual motion is achievable inpractice if hindrances such as frictional force are eliminated. Thisargument is not entirely true because frictional forces cannot beeliminated completely. The best that can be achieved in practice isto reduce them. Consider superconductive metals. Electricalresistance in this class of metals is reduced to a bare minimum atlow temperatures. This should be confused to mean that there is zeroresistance at low temperatures (Smith, 2011).

Takean example of a closed-cycle water mill. This is a common examplewhenever one mentions the concept of perpetual motion machines. Theinventor of this machine had envisioned a situation whereby energywas to be created by water that moved over a mill wheel. Theresultant energy was expected to be more than that need by theArchimedes screw to push the water up in a cycle. This was notworkable in a practical situation as it defied many laws of physics.The water falling from the reservoir could not provide enough energyto turn the Archimedes screw so as to sustain a perpetual motion inthe mill. It only resulted in a situation of perpetual futility(Smith, 2011).

Havea look at a sterling engine. Is it a perpetual motion machine? Somepeople have argued that it is a perpetual motion machine while othershave argued against the notion. What are the scientific facts on theground? This engine has been found to work continuously for as longas there is fuel to operate it (Smith, 2011). The fact that fuel issupplied from time to time debunks the notion that a sterling engineis a perpetual motion machine. Perpetual motion is thus left to bejust a myth that far from being a reality.


Palmer,D. (2010). Thedream of perpetual motion(Revised ed.). New York: St. Martin`s Press.

Smith,J. (2011). Divinemachines: Leibniz and the sciences of life.Princeton: Princeton University Press.