Is my Spring in the Air - or my prop not supported?
I have been reading on this site about the problems associated with building and using a vehicle for road use that runs on a clock-work basis. The square cube law problem re the spring and also the problems created by the gyro forces of the flywheel. What I want to ask is: Would it be possible to have a spring or series of springs big enough that could drive a generator to charge a bank of batteries that would then power a narrowboat on the inland waterways and potentially rivers of the UK. There is a company that supplies engines and batteries and their paraphernalia suggests it is possible to get 2 hours of battery propulsion from one hour of diesel use - http://www.betamarine.co.uk/inland/Beta_Hybrid/inland_hybrid.html. So, if the engine was removed could it be possible to use some kind of clockwork spring-thing instead of the engine big enough to charge batteries that would then power the boat. I am thinking that winding the spring would be done but either a very geared down bicycle or some kind of geared down lever crank with ratchet or even a transportable friendly donkey...I appreciate that fitness and maintaining it would be important to wind up the spring by pedalling the bike, cranking the lever or chatting to the donkey to keep it friendly. How big would the spring need to be and how long would it take to wind it up by bicycle, crank or donkey. Keen to know what the real problems would/could be...am thinking it might be possible to use a series of springs so they do not have to be so very big and therefore could overcome the square cube law problem and how many would be needed to charge the bank of batteries to then turn the prop.