Category: physics

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Nikola Tesla’s Two Designs for Geothermal Energy

By. J. J. J.

Nikola Tesla recognized early in his life that humankind was quickly consuming the earth’s supply of forests, coal, gas and oil which we use for heat, light and motive power in our everyday lives. He realized that these methods were barbarous and wasteful, because eventually all the forests would disappear, and the coal, gas and oil fields would be exhausted. This was not just his own opinion, but a fact based off the geological investigations of his time which showed our fuel stores to be limited. He believed it was in the best interest of future generations that humans should find better means of providing energy to the global population.

On his 75th birthday, Tesla gathered members of the press together and proposed two new designs for geothermal electric power; one involved utilizing the different temperatures of the upper and lower levels of the oceans, and the second was based on the concept of using the heat from below the earth’s surface. The two ideas were not new theories by any means, but mere proposals made by Tesla to improve upon previous research that to date had not been economically viable to implement. With Tesla’s new designs, he assured that steam could be a financially feasible option to provide the world with clean and inexpensive electrical and mechanical energy sources.

It is well known that at certain depths of the oceans the water gets colder, and the reverse effect happens on land where the temperatures get warmer. Tesla’s plan was to utilize these effects by using vacuums and vacuum pumps to generate steam power. The significance of the vacuum is simple. When water boils it evaporates and creates steam. Science tells us that at sea level water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It also tells us that water boils faster at lower atmospheric pressures. For example, the higher in elevation water gets from sea level the boiling point becomes lower than 212 °F. Therefore, in a vacuum where there is little to no atmospheric pressure, water can be made to boil at the lowest temperatures. This similar behavior is shown in a device called a cryophorus, invented by William Wollaston. A cryophorus contains two vacuum bulbs interconnected by a tube and both partially filled with liquid water. The liquid in one bulb evaporates and is condensed in the other. If the dry bulb is rapidly cooled, say put in ice, the water condensed in the other bulb freezes and gives off steam.

The —cryophorus— is well-known as a scientific toy, exemplifying also the principle of refrigerating machinery.

Tesla’s oceanic and terrestrial plan was similar to this scheme except on a much larger scale. His adaption was to make use of the steam by inserting a turbine in between the two bulbs and connecting it to a generator turning the steam into useful energy. The steam from the turbine could also be cycled back and reused.

In the oceanic design, Tesla planned to dig a pipe down to the great depths of the ocean to collect cold water, and have another pipe close to surface level. His vacuum pump would draw water from both levels of the ocean—one towards his condenser and the other to his boiler. The boiler would boil water at surface temperature (58 degrees Fahrenheit), and the steam generated would be directed up an insulated pipe towards the turbine—spinning it into rotation. The steam exhausted by the turbine is then passed to the condenser where it meets with the cold water, and just like with the cryophorus, the water is condensed and the cycle repeats.

The oceanic scheme draws power from the depths of the ocean, utilizing the warmth of one layer, brought into contact with the cold of another, to operate great power plants. 

The terrestrial system acts in opposite manner. A deep tunnel would be dug in the earth and an insulated pipe, connected to the turbine at surface level, would be inserted. The steam from the depths would be lifted up towards the turbine. From the turbine the steam is discharged into a condenser. The condensed water flows by gravity through another insulated pipe reaching to a depth at which the temperature of the ground exceeds that of the condensate. The picture below explains the process.

The arrangement of the terrestrial power plant. Water is circulated to the bottom of the shaft, returning as steam to drive the turbine, and then returned to liquid form in the condenser, in an unending cycle.

Although these designs of Tesla never came into fruition, his ideas still remain. If you wish to understand Tesla’s concepts better you can read his article here:

“OUR FUTURE MOTIVE POWER.” Everyday Science and Mechanics, December 1931.

Ahead of his time!!!

Nikola Tesla’s Two Designs for Geothermal Energy

By. J. J. J.

Nikola Tesla recognized early in his life that humankind was quickly consuming the earth’s supply of forests, coal, gas and oil which we use for light, heat, and motive power in our everyday lives. He realized that these methods were barbarous and wasteful, because eventually all the forests would disappear, and the coal, gas and oil fields would be exhausted. This was not just his own opinion, but a fact based off the geological investigations of his time which showed our fuel stores to be limited. He believed it was in the best interest of future generations that humans should find better means of providing energy to the global population. On his 75th birthday, Tesla gathered members of the press together and proposed two new designs for geothermal electric power; one involved utilizing the different temperatures of the upper and lower levels of the oceans, and the second was based on the concept of using the heat from below the earth’s surface. The two ideas were not new theories by any means, but mere proposals made by Tesla to improve upon previous research that to date had not been economically viable to implement. With Tesla’s new designs, he assured that steam could be a financially feasible option to provide the world with clean and inexpensive electrical and mechanical energy sources.

It is well known that at certain depths of the oceans the water gets colder, and the reverse effect happens on land where the temperatures get warmer. Tesla’s plan was to utilize these effects by using vacuums and vacuum pumps to generate steam power. The significance of the vacuum is simple. When water boils it evaporates and creates steam. Science tells us that at sea level water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It also tells us that water boils faster at lower atmospheric pressures. For example, the higher in elevation water gets from sea level the boiling point becomes lower than 212 °F. Therefore, in a vacuum where there is little to no atmospheric pressure, water can be made to boil at the lowest temperatures. This similar behavior is shown in a device called a cryophorus, invented by William Wollaston. A cryophorus contains two vacuum bulbs interconnected by a tube and both partially filled with liquid water. The liquid in one bulb evaporates and is condensed in the other. If the dry bulb is rapidly cooled, say put in ice, the water condensed in the other bulb freezes and gives off steam.

The —cryophorus— is well-known as a scientific toy, exemplifying also the principle of refrigerating machinery.

Tesla’s oceanic and terrestrial plan was similar to this scheme except on a much larger scale. His adaption was to make use of the steam by inserting a turbine in between the two bulbs and connecting it to a generator turning the steam into useful energy.

In the oceanic design, Tesla planned to dig a pipe down to the great depths of the ocean to collect cold water, and have another pipe close to surface level. His vacuum pump would draw water from both levels of the ocean—one towards his condenser and the other to his boiler. The boiler would boil water at surface temperature (58 degrees Fahrenheit), and the steam generated would be directed up an insulated pipe towards the turbine—spinning it into rotation. The steam exhausted by the turbine is then passed to the condenser where it meets with the cold water, and just like with the cryophorus, the water is condensed and the cycle repeats.

The oceanic scheme draws power from the depths of the ocean, utilizing the warmth of one layer, brought into contact with the cold of another, to operate great power plants. 

The terrestrial system acts in opposite manner. A deep tunnel would be dug in the earth and an insulated pipe, connected to the turbine at surface level, would be inserted. The steam from the depths would be lifted up towards the turbine. From the turbine the steam is discharged into a condenser. The condensed water flows by gravity through another insulated pipe reaching to a depth at which the temperature of the ground exceeds that of the condensate. The picture below explains the process.

The arrangement of the terrestrial power plant. Water is circulated to the bottom of the shaft, returning as steam to drive the turbine, and then returned to liquid form in the condenser, in an unending cycle.

Although these designs of Tesla never came into fruition, his ideas still remain. If you wish to understand Tesla’s concepts better you can read his article here:

“OUR FUTURE MOTIVE POWER.” Everyday Science and Mechanics, December 1931.

The universe is NOT like an onion.

*blares ‘I’m a Barbie girl’ as an introduction to a lab* Sorry, I just had to let chemistry know that we have more fun than them.

This is sometimes called the onion model of stellar fusion because an onion also has several spherical shells. Each of these shells has a different type of nuclear fusion going on, which is not what happens in a typical onion.

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