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Elementary Science Education

Natural Forces and perpetual motion machines

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      Bernard Nebel

      Natural Forces

      We commonly generate forces through our muscles, which depend on the potential energy in food, or machines that utilize fuels or electrical power.  However, there are natural forces that exist in the universe apart from energy. Your students are already familiar with two of them: gravity (gravitational forces) and magnetic force (electromagnetic forces). There are two additional forces that physicists have determined must act within atoms in holding them together. However, these can await higher level studies.


      Perpetual motion machine

      Have kids consider the logic: Gravity is a force that will make objects move. A moving object represents energy (movement energy). Therefore, it should be possible to build a machine that runs on gravitational force alone and may generate additional power. Over the ages, many inventors have attempted to design and build such a “perpetual motion machine”; unfortunately none of them have worked. Moreover, their consistent failure, along with many additional lines of investigation led to the establishment of the Laws of Thermodynamics which basically state: such machines are impossible. The following video provides some insight.

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