Introduction: Coupled Motors As Educational Models

About: Student of Medicine. Fan of instructables since forever. Im fascinated by lights.

A few days ago some friends asked me to help them with medical biochemistry. I obliged. On the topic of Biological Oxidation, they were having difficulty in grasping the concept of ATP Synthetase and how it generates energy (ATP). Basically ATP Synthetase is a molecular motor that is present in our dear cute mitochondria, when a force (H+ ions) rotates this motor, ATP is generated. ATP Synthetase is the smallest molecular rotary motor known.

You can see ATP Synthetase as a dynamo on your bicycle. When you pedal and the wheel rotates, the dynamo generates energy to light up the lamp.

I thought about making a model to help them understand. Googled but to no avail. Then to help them understand the concept I made this little widget. (Video is here)

I just want to leave this idea here as a potential project for someone or as a teaching aid. I hope it helps you. This can be used to demonstrate a lot of things; Like power generation by electric companies, back motor effect, Lenz law, turbines, ATP synthetase. Improvise!

Step 1: Ingredients

For making this widget you need:

  1. Power Source
  2. Soldering Iron
  3. Solder
  4. LED
  5. 2 Motors

Step 2: How to Make It..

  1. Take 2 DC motors. Identical are better but not necessary. Just make sure that their gearheads can fit with each other and rotate as a couple.
  2. Connect the 1st motor with a power supply. This can be a battery, adapter etc. I used a USB cable and connected the motor with a usb phone charger. Turn on the motor to check.
  3. Now run the 1st motor and take the second motor and lock their gearheads together. If the motor keeps stopping. Add a little drop of oil to facilitate the process.
  4. Check to see if the 1st motor can rotate the gearhead of the 2nd one. If it doesn't you need to get a new motor.
  5. Now take your LED and connect it to the wires of the second motor. The anode/long leg (+) of LED goes to the red wire and the cathode/short leg (-) goes to the black wire.
  6. Run the motor, lock the gearheads together and the led will light up.

Step 3: Demo