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Some physics problems? (Posted on 2006-04-16) Difficulty: 5 of 5
This was a problem I troubled myself with when the Physics teacher taught electromagnetism.

Assuming that we can create a gigantic alternating current generator in space, rotating a gigantic circular magnet around a gigantic wire coil to induce an alternating current, will we not get infinite energy and defeat the law of conservation of energy?

As the whole set up is in space, there is no friction whatsoever between the components though the wire naturally has some resistance. The wire's induced magnetic field can oppose the rotation of the magnet, but this can be easily be counteracted by routing a bit of energy from an external circuit to the magnet. As the magnet is circular the gravitational attraction between the circular magnet and coils cancels out. The power from the wire coil will then be connected to a device which will transmit the energy to earth via an electromagnetic wave.

The only energy inputs are that to keep the ring rotating and the initial energy input to put the setup in space. The output in energy is theoretically infinite.

SOMETHING is wrong with this argument that I later discovered myself. The Physics teacher was unable to detect it and walked away quite puzzled. Can you guys find out why this would never work?

See The Solution Submitted by Jack Lim    
Rating: 3.5000 (2 votes)

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Solution No Subject | Comment 8 of 13 |

The key is in the statement:

"The wire's induced magnetic field can oppose the rotation of the magnet, but this can be easily be counteracted by routing a bit of energy from an external circuit to the magnet."

Even if the wires are superconducting, the "bit of energy" would in fact be all the energy produced, that would be needed to counteract the opposition to rotation.  In ordinary wires, even the entire amount of produced energy would not be enough to counteract the induced opposition to the motion, as some of the produced energy would be lost as heat in the wires.


  Posted by Charlie on 2006-04-17 09:23:37
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