# Sir Isaac Newton penned a famous law that is

Sir Isaac Newton penned a famous law that is contradicting when considering perpetual motion. The law states: “Every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced source” (Rubin, 2011). The first part of this law would mean that if an object is in motion it would stay in motion. However the second part of the law contradicts that because there are external unbalanced sources everywhere in the universe. Most people would say it is impossible to build an effective perpetual motion machine unless an external source of energy is engineered. In fact no one has ever been able to produce a successful perpetual motion machine.
Perpetual motion is defined as the motion of an ideal mechanism that could continue to operate indefinitely without drawing upon an external source of energy (“Perpetual motion,” 2017). Another definition of perpetual motion is a hypothetical device that can continuously produce work with no energy input, continuously convert energy completely into work, or continuously produce more energy than it consumes (Boehm, 2017). A mechanism of this type seems unrealistic due to the all of the things around us that would prevent it from operating in this manner. It is known that things in the world require an initial form of energy as well as a
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continuous source of energy. These machines would be required to produce their own energy or use less energy than they take in (Stewart, 1986)
Thermodynamics is the study of various forms of energy, such as heat and work, and of the conversion of energy from one form into another (Boehm, 2017). The laws of thermodynamics relates to perpetual motion. The first law states that energy in a system, which may be anything from a simple object to a complex machine, cannot be created or destroyed
(Boehm, 2017). Energy is either converted from one form into another or transferred from one system to another (Boehm, 2017). The second law says that heat will, of its own accord, flow only from a hotter object to a colder object (Boehm, 2017). In response to the first law of thermodynamics, the total amount of energy in a machine will always remain the same, the energy may change forms from internal energy to mechanical motion (Boehm, 2017). A machine cannot gain or create energy internally so eventually the machine would fail to operate without an external energy source. In response to the second law of thermodynamics, a machine cannot convert all the heat energy from its fuel into mechanical energy; it will transfer some of its heat energy to colder objects surrounding it. (Boehm, 2017) When an engine in a machine uses part of its energy to transfer into cooler objects around it the temperature will begin to fall and eventually the engine would stop due to lack of energy from heat.  For any machine to achieve perpetual motion, it would have to violate one or both of the laws of thermodynamics.
The idea of creating a mechanism that could continue to operate without an energy source creates endless possibilities. When Newton coined the idea many individuals attempted to create mechanisms that could operate on perpetual motion. Two types of perpetual motion machines
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have been attempted. A machine that violates the first law of thermodynamics will not work. A machine will always experience resistance so for it to keep working it would have to use its
energy to overcome the resistance. If there is not energy input to keep using then the machine will stop. (Boehm, 2017) Two examples come to mind. If an individual got onto a swing and someone pushes the swing to initiate the motion the individual would need energy from the pumping of their legs or that individual to continue to push them in order for the motion to continue. If some type of external source of energy did not exist the swing would eventually stop. The friction of the air would cause the swing to lose momentum and the swing would ultimately stop. Another example would be Newton’s cradle. This is a desktop marble perpetual motion mechanism that uses marbles to transfer energy from one marble to another attempting to transfer the energy from one side of the mechanism to the opposite side. Newton’s cradle is mesmerizing however it is ineffective for long periods of time. The initial energy is quickly lost through the transfer of energy and the air creating friction resulting in the marbles motion to cease. Many inventors have attempted to build these types of machines and none have been successful. Edison Notestein built a device that looked like a Ferris wheel; it was unsuccessful (Stewart, 1986). Mississippi native Joseph Newman built the “energy machine” which is a device that included a fiberglass tub, 700 pounds of magnets, and 25 miles of copper coils. His too was unsuccessful (Stewart, 1986).
Another type of machine has been attempted and violates the second law of thermodynamics. The machine works by moving heat from a hotter region to a cooler region surrounding it. Once the areas are all the same temperature the machine will stop. (Boehm, 2017)
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An example of this type of machine is a heat engine. The theory behind these types of machines is that energy can be captured and used over and over when there is no way to produce new
energy (Stewart, 1986). The second law being broken is far less common in an attempt to create a perpetual motion machine.
For many years inventors have attempted to build machines that could continually run without a source of power; none of these individuals have been successful. Against the advice of many physicists saying it is impossible to produce such a device, many inventors have dedicated their lives and finances to these machines (Cengel and Boles, 2006). Inventors such as Paul
Scheerbart still believe perpetual motion machines are possible, even after many failed attempts (Scheerbart, 2011). Scheerbart and men like him had a vision they were not willing to give up on. The idea of a perpetual motion machine was the motivation behind their work for many years. Inventors have continued the fight to build a successful perpetual motion machine. A successful perpetual motion machine would change the world forever, presenting new possibilities to the world as we know it (Lienhard, 1977).