OS:Tomdbum Vortex

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Vortex Technology

Status : no prototype yet


Submitted Dec. 17, 2004

This one is fairly easy to build, has a feasible theory and a long history.

The first one to build it will see if the theory holds. If I ever can afford it I'll build it myself, until then I'll be happy to advice anyone who wants to try.

-- Tom

Tom's site is no longer on line. I have, however, on Tom's request, saved a copy of what was there. Here is the text of the article that the link pointed to:

Sepp--Vortexpower 08:01, 2 July 2009 (PDT)

The hardware for the experiment consists of a tank, made from copper and egg shaped, that will be set on a fulcrum which allows it to oscillate without rotating (similar to the way a gyro or ships compass is mounted). It will be some 800 by 600 millimeters in size and have a volume of about 150 liters. It will be filled with water and turned at a small, adjustable angle, say 0 - 7 degrees, and accelerated until the power of whatever engine will be turning it is exhausted or can be turned off. It will have a release that frees it from the fulcrum and allows it to rotate, so it can follow the water around until it stops.

The reason for it being of relatively large dimensions is speed. To be able to get large enough angular velocity in the core of the vortex the radius at which it is swung needs to be large. This will certainly put high demands on the construction, as it will be a considerable weight being swung around.

When we swing the tank around, the water it contains will start rotating. Along the wall of the tank it will rise from the centripetal influence that is induced by the motion. Within the watermass the individual water particles will move inwards, due to friction from the wall which will slow down the water closest to the wall and force the next layer to move inwards. The center of the watermass will be falling, from gravity and to replace what is rising along the wall.


a vertical cut through the tank would show a rising motion along the rim, and a falling motion in the core of the watermass.

A horizontal cut would show a spiralling motion, much like the animation up to your left.


1. The angular velocity of the motion will be of a larger magnitude the closer to the core we get, as momentum is preserved.

2. The pressure will be lower the closer to the core we get, as the angular velocity gets higher.

3. The temperature will be lower the closer to the core we get, as the pressure will fall.

4. The water will contract as it approaches the core, as the temperature will fall.

5. (Below 33C)The viscosity of the water will be lower closer to the core, making it flow easier.

6. Friction against the wall will add heat to the watermass.

7. As the water cools and contracts the heat will transform to kinetic energy.

8. Gravity pull will be stronger at the center of the watermass, as the water will be denser.

9. The force required to turn the tank horizontally will be much smaller than the force of gravity on the watermass.

10. The watermass will have a positive electrical charge at the rim, and negative at the core.

11. All these effects will get stronger as we swing the tank faster.



From the above we can conclude that the energy of the system will increase by other forces than our own, as we turn the tank faster.

The energy increase comes in part from heat of friction that is converted by the motion to kinetic energy, and in part from kinetic energy from the gravity field caused by the change in the internal structure of the water due to the motion.

When we swing the tank, we are rolling along with the motion of the water, and with inertia overcome it will take very little force to accelerate it. Even a slight increase in density in the falling water will add force to the system, and this force will get stronger the faster the tank is swung, as the water is constantly in the gravity field.

In consequence, if we swing the tank fast enough, the difference in weight between the falling and the rising water will get large enough to sustain the motion, together with the contraction from cooling, as long as there is enough heat from friction to make the heat difference large enough.

Beyond that point it will accelerate by itself to infinity.

A more technical view

The container itself can be made in several different ways, depending on what tools are available. It is of importance that the tank is made out of one piece, that is without joints. This is to avoid turbulence from effects from differences in material between the copper and the solder.

The simplest, but I think also most expensive, way would be to get it turned on a lathe from a sheet of copper. There is a name for this technique, which I can't remember at the moment. This would also lead to the best result from most aspects.

The second best is spraying copper on to a plaster cast. Making the cast is a time consuming project, but fairly cheap. The result would be less pefect though, and it would have to go through a long polishing process to get the right finish.

The cheapest, and maybe most attractive way to do it would be going to Thailand and having a silversmith to make it by hand out of a sheet of copper. The result in this case would be uncertain.

When this is ready, there will have to be cast two caps out of brass, consisting of rings that will be soldered on to the ends of the copper tank with threaded lids that fit snugly into them. These caps will need to be made with as much precision as possible, as all cracks and unevennesses will cause certain turbulence in the system. Needless to say, they will have to be polished on the inside to fit the curve of the tank.

At the wide end of the tank the fulcrum will be attached to the brass ring. It will probably be necessary to have external attachments between the top and bottom rings, to make the construction steadier.

The fulcrum will need to be drawn and made after the exact dimensions of the tank are known. Here it is necessary to consult an engineer to make sure that dimensions are right and construction solid and feasible. The idea is to have it hung up with inside of the bottom cap centre as a centrepoint for the motion. It will take two rings and four bearings to make the fulcrum, and it will take one very strong bearing in the centre to take up the motion once it is started.

At the top, the tank will have to rest on to a ring which lets it lean with the initial angle to turn it at, when it is at rest. To turn it there will have to be a setup which allows it to rise while turned, so the container can stand upright when it is set to rotate. It must, however, be possible to prevent it from rising prematurely.

The power is taken out after the tank is released to rotate. If left to rotate, the tank will keep going until the water stops, as there will be very little addition of heat to the system when the tank follows the water around. A certain amount of resistance will be necessary to keep it going since we need the friction.

More resistance will give more power.


Copyright © 2004 Some Rights Reserved.

See also

- OS

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Directory:Vortex Technologies