[Public-List] Another engineering experiment

Gordon Laco via Public-List public-list at lists.alberg30.org
Fri Oct 10 07:01:31 PDT 2014

I hope you don¹t mind another story....

Some years later, when I was 23 years old, and just out of university,  I¹d
bought my Folkboat TOUCH WOOD.  I kept her out on a mooring and in short
order discovered arranging to re charge her batteries was inconvenient.

It occurred to my friend Barry and I that if I had a wind powered electrical
generator, the recharging issue would be solved.   Somehow we noticed that
if one folded cardboard over the spokes of a bicycle wheel, one could end up
with something that looks a lot like a jet engine¹s primary turbine.  Aha!
We said to each other, perhaps we¹re on to something.  We discussed building
a rig where the bike wheel/fan would drive my bike¹s wheel driven generator
lighting kit.

Unfortunately, the day we did this, there was no wind.  We wanted to get an
idea of what rpm the modified wheel would develop, and also how much drag
the apparatus developed.  This later would have a bearing on what sort of
mounting bracket we¹d have to build.  I should say at this point that my
degree was in History, Barry¹s was in Mechanical Engineering.

We decided we¹d have to make our own wind for the experiment.   I owned a
car, a rusty Œ72 Toyota 1200cc Corolla.  Barry got in the passenger seat
holding the nuts of the bike wheel¹s axel out the window while I drove.  At
10mph the wheel spun hard and fast ­ loads of power.  I noticed he was
having difficulty holding the nuts, so with a grin, punched up the speed to
30.   Now the wheel was really spinning, making a roaring sound, but Barry
hung on despite the terrific gyroscopic forces he was describing to me.

Disasster struck when I slowed the car and turned.  The gyroscopic force
resisted the turn and the wheel was torn out of Barry¹s fingers.  One hand
was raked by the spokes as it flew off and bounded down the street...
Luckily it didn¹t hit anyone nor a window or car.

I bought a second battery for the boat and got into a routine of exchanging
them at the boat; charging the Œout¹ battery at home.


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