1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Mechanical electricity generation

  1. Feb 28, 2008 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I was just thinking last night about the generation of electricity.

    Are there any mechanical forms (as opposed to chemical or solar or other) of electricity generation that are not ultimately dependent on permanent magnets?

    If we had no permanent magnets, would we have any way to generate electricity from mechanical processes such as wind, hydro, steam(coal, thermal, nuclear) etc.?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Generators typically use some type of field excitation to generate electricity, not permanent magnets. Of course that assumes that one has an electrical source for the field excitation. If no electrical source is available, then I can't think of anyway, without permanent magnets, for field excitation (excluding chemical like you stipulated).

  4. Feb 29, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    These seem to qualify

    Van de Graff generators.
    Piezo generators
  5. Feb 29, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Look at this stepwise:

    First there are mechanical (non-magnetic) means of generating static electricity See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostatic_generator. Once you have found a way of generating static electricity, you can store the charges with a Leyden jar, which is essentially a capacitor.

    So once you've got a primitive capacitor you could connect it to a circuit as a voltage source, which you can then use to make an electromagnet. And from there you can use the electromagnet to generate current. Of course once you've got a charged Leyden jar you could already use it as a current source.
  6. Nov 3, 2011 #5
    It is possible to use a large mechanical storage system, by using a small amount of electicity and store it in large knetic storage unit and then itcan be used to produce largrer amounts of electricity. This is totally Green electricity and does not require nuclear dirt, polluting fuel burning, sun that does not always shine, wind that is not constant, nor water that can freeze or run dry, hoping containment does not breach. This would work much like a wind turbine but work 100% of the time and yet has been over looked by all power companies though it has worked in the long past and with todays new materials technology would allow this to work today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! K.I.S.S.
  7. Nov 3, 2011 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry, no it isn't. Conservation of energy is the law.

    This is a necropost and not useful, so thread locked.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook