Have you ever wanted to impress your friends with a cool physics project? Well you're in luck!!
My instructable will teach you how to build the simplest kind of heat engine. This instructable is a cheap (roughly $20 cost) and a simple idea to build for a basic physics demonstration. The total time to build takes only an hour from start to finish. The importance of this project stresses the simplicity of demonstrating a simple heat engine through heat energy converted into mechanical motion.
Building this rubber band heat engine is one of the simplest and coolest ways to demonstrate how work is done through the use of heat. You can also impress your friends by telling them you're building an "engine".
What is a heat engine?
A heat engine is a machine that converts heat energy into mechanical motion. The Rubberband engine will convert heat engery, using a heat lamp, into a mechanical motion by spinning the wheel.
How does this work?
Rubber bands react opposite of metals when exposed to hot and cold temperatures. When exposed to a (hot) heat lamp, the rubber bands will contract and become smaller. As they contract, the center axle will shift towards the outer rim of the wheel causing the wheel to become unbalanced. When the wheel is unbalanced, it will cause the weight to shift and begin to spin! Henceforth, heat energy has now been converted into mechanical motion.
Follow the next 6 steps carefully and you will soon have a fully functional rubber band heat engine!
NOTE: Building this heat engine is a bit challenging for children but could easily be accompanied by someone of the age 12+.