"The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theory.

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"The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theory.

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:19 am UTC

Anyone not familiar with "Karpen's Pile" might want to do a quick search before reading the rest of this, you just need to spend 30 seconds reading to get the basic idea. (Just enough to get familiar with that thing commonly referred to as a "battery", containing gold, platinum and sulfuric acid.)
Language will be kept Very simple, in part because I'm a simple guy, so you don't need to worry too much about any of this being too complicated for you. In fact after reading this you might even think I'm a bit dense.

For almost two decades I have toyed with the idea of finding a way to harvest more useful energy from just molecular movement; basically turning heat into electricity. I always figured this would be easiest to accomplish by using a layer of atoms that have a far out electron shell with a single electron that is able to "jump off" comparatively easily without destabilizing the atoms molecular bindings, resulting in the electron getting "trapped" in another medium and transferred to another conducting layer, I think you get the picture. For the odd electron to get smacked out of orbit from the first layer my guess was that it could be done by either a liquid or gas that would provide a constant bombardment of molecules... Unfortunately I never really managed to get along with many of my teachers and failed many classes mostly due to lack of effort, this all contributed to me not having much food for my thoughts and most theories I came up with never got far. I recently read an article about "the battery that has been going for 60 years" and as I examined the "Karpen's Pile" more closely, my jaw just dropped. I thought to myself "either gold or platinum MUST have the ability to lose electrons with little effort" and immediately dug up a periodic table... As I examined their electron shells it suddenly dawned on me, platinum is used in catalytic converters because of its abilty to ionize almost anything it comes into contact with! Next on my list was the sulfuric acid, could it be the ultimate electron thief? Looking closely at the molecule and reading some related material I realised that sulfuric acid has a rather strong difference in electric charge when comparing one end to the other, and the molecule itself should be big enough to absorb an extra electron if it would be applied to the positive end of the molecule. Both platinum and gold are also otherwise unaffected by sulfuric acid.

Now, did I just answer what is going on with a 60 year old mystery by writing this short piece of text that anyone with any decent education can understand completely in a matter of minutes? I did search for other theories, but could only find immensely ridiculous explanations such as "IT'S MAGIC!", "PHYSICS IS BROKEN, NEED NEW RULES!" and some incredibly long (several pages) calculations that I could not even begin to understand.

Final mindblower: IF my theory is completely accurate, we already had the ability to turn heat into electricity for 60 years but we were too incredibly dense to get it until now. The original design is extremely ineffective compared to its size (probably due to limitations of that era) but today with a proper factory we could instead produce very small devices giving a whole lot more power with layers of gold an platinum that need only be a few atoms thick! Does anyone here have the ability to put my theory to the test? I wouldn't mind worldwide fame but the most important thing is to spread this knowledge until Anyone can get pretty much Unlimited electrical power anywhere in the world without destroying any more of our ozone layer.

EDIT: I apologize profusely for calling this a "theory", it was a mistake on my behalf because I'm a dense dumbass and I feel very very bad about this, can you find it in your hearts to forgive me so we can get on with our lives now please?
Last edited by MrAwesome on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:16 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:17 am UTC

MrAwesome wrote:Anyone not familiar with "Karpen's Pile" might want to do a quick search before reading the rest of this, you just need to spend 30 seconds reading to get the basic idea.
I did. Wikipedia said no evidence has ever been offered to support the claims that it's been working continuously.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:48 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
MrAwesome wrote:Anyone not familiar with "Karpen's Pile" might want to do a quick search before reading the rest of this, you just need to spend 30 seconds reading to get the basic idea.
I did. Wikipedia said no evidence has ever been offered to support the claims that it's been working continuously.


Yeah I know, but what Wikipedia fails to tell us is the fact that it's sitting in an office in a museum, unavailable to the world because the museum can't afford as much security as the police require them to have for the device to even be viewed by visitors. Also, measurements taken very recently show that it is still generating 1V and that the output does not seem to have changed in 60 years.

Your input is duly noted but now that we have that detail out of the way, what is your opinion on my theory? Does it seem reasonable?

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:56 am UTC

You don't have a theory, you have a crackpot hypothesis with no verifiable experimental underpinnings.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:08 am UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:You don't have a theory, you have a crackpot hypothesis with no verifiable experimental underpinnings.


Well it seems you say tomato - I say whatever. Call me a crackpot if you like but it seems a bit off topic yet again. Why is it so impossible for you to grasp that it actually could be this simple? My theory/hypothesis/whatever is actually Far Less crackpot than any other explanation I've seen so far and I still don't see any input from anyone regarding whether the components of it may actually be accurate or not, and I certainly don't see any input telling me WHY.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Hawknc » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:11 am UTC

Crackpot might be a bit of editorialising, but TMT hits a valid point - a theory has verifiable evidence supporting it. Is this something you could actually build to test your hypothesis?

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:17 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:Crackpot might be a bit of editorialising, but TMT hits a valid point - a theory has verifiable evidence supporting it. Is this something you could actually build to test your hypothesis?


I would kindly ask that you and TMT direct your eyes and feast upon your glorious victory at the very end of my first post.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Hawknc » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:23 am UTC

Great, but it doesn't really answer the question - if you want to know if it will work, why can't it be built so that there is experimental proof?

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:33 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:Great, but it doesn't really answer the question - if you want to know if it will work, why can't it be built so that there is experimental proof?


Did you actually read my first post? "Does anyone here have the ability to put my theory to the test?" should have made it quite clear that this should not be impossible to test, I would do it myself if I could afford a few grams of gold and platinum and if it was legal to play with sulfuric acid in my country. Unfortunately as I just implied, this is completely out of reach for me personally. I'm here hoping that SOMEONE with a bit of money will see my post and just TRY this and see if it works, I don't even care if it's working for a reason other than what I think as long as it's working! Why doesn't anyone ever think outside the box for even a fraction of a second and do crazy experiments? One might think that in 60 years someone who tried to duplicate Karpen's Pile would have granted the world valuable information about it but I have never heard of such a thing for some reason?

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Dopefish » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:06 am UTC

MrAwesome wrote:One might think that in 60 years someone who tried to duplicate Karpen's Pile would have granted the world valuable information about it but I have never heard of such a thing for some reason?


Glancing at the wikipedia article, I don't have a clear idea of how it's allegedly actually working, but someone with more knowledge of batteries might do better. But without details, no one is going to magically be able to reproduce it. Theres no lack of people in the battery business who are in generally aimming to make better and better batteries, and you can find plenty of info on that stuff. People just don't officially claim to be trying to reproduce that alleged battery because that's like annouceing that you're going to go search for the holy grail, that is, something that theory has strong reason to believe doesn't exist.

Anyway terms of your 'theory', what do you actually propose one do with gold/platinum/acid? If you just plop them into acid together, I'm fairly sure nothing in particular is going to happen. How, specifically would you have things set up?

Also, I'm fairly sure platinum is used in various applications not because it "ionizes almost anything it comes in contact with", but rather because it's fairly inert, and it simply provides a surface for other reactions to take place on (and in some simple cells, also functioning as a conducting path for the electrons).

Coming up with ideas and theories about how things work is fine and good, but I would strongly advise against insisting you're right unless you have evidence to support it, either in the form of experimental data or explicit calculations, and even then when making a significant claim, you should expect to have flaws pointed out, otherwise you'll be treated the same way as those people who show up in the math forum claiming to have proven the riemann hypothesis every month or two.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:43 am UTC

Dopefish wrote:
MrAwesome wrote:One might think that in 60 years someone who tried to duplicate Karpen's Pile would have granted the world valuable information about it but I have never heard of such a thing for some reason?


Glancing at the wikipedia article, I don't have a clear idea of how it's allegedly actually working, but someone with more knowledge of batteries might do better. But without details, no one is going to magically be able to reproduce it. Theres no lack of people in the battery business who are in generally aimming to make better and better batteries, and you can find plenty of info on that stuff. People just don't officially claim to be trying to reproduce that alleged battery because that's like annouceing that you're going to go search for the holy grail, that is, something that theory has strong reason to believe doesn't exist.

Anyway terms of your 'theory', what do you actually propose one do with gold/platinum/acid? If you just plop them into acid together, I'm fairly sure nothing in particular is going to happen. How, specifically would you have things set up?

Also, I'm fairly sure platinum is used in various applications not because it "ionizes almost anything it comes in contact with", but rather because it's fairly inert, and it simply provides a surface for other reactions to take place on (and in some simple cells, also functioning as a conducting path for the electrons).

Coming up with ideas and theories about how things work is fine and good, but I would strongly advise against insisting you're right unless you have evidence to support it, either in the form of experimental data or explicit calculations, and even then when making a significant claim, you should expect to have flaws pointed out, otherwise you'll be treated the same way as those people who show up in the math forum claiming to have proven the riemann hypothesis every month or two.


The basic idea of a battery is that one type of metal is soaked up by a liquid (well actually it doesn't even need to be a liquid anymore, there are alternatives but the basic idea is the same) and that creates a charge somehow, and my knowledge beyond that point is.. well, "limited" would be an understatement. The way I figure it is that the Karpen's Pile doesn't lose atoms to the liquid, only electrons by the process vividly described in the original post. Yes I'm off target with the platinums function, that you for pointing it out in a way that makes sense to people, it's appreciated. I would have attempted explaining it if my skills in english had been better and if I'd had a good nights sleep once in a while the last few months.

Basic idea for an experiment: Get a glass container of some kind, fill up with sulfuric acid, put VERY THIN foil of gold and platinum in the acid in a way that they don't touch each other and seal the container in a way that you have a conductive material connected to platinum on one side and gold on the other (obviously not touching each other) and you should be able to measure a very small current. Keep measuring that current for months, if it's constant and the foil does not dissolve in the acid you have successfully made electricity "out of nothing" so to speak.

As for why nobody wants to play around with super expensive metals and one of the most corrosive substances known to man, I guess it makes sense to just play it safe and not toy with it unless you're certain you'll get that "holy grail" (or certain that such a thing even exists) and thus a boring old battery manufacturer aiming for exotic materials producing incredible voltage and amps isn't going to try this without a gentle nudge by a crackpot like me. Also, if someone HAD been playing with it and it didn't work at all then it seems logical to me that someone should have said something by now.

Once again, I'm not making a claim because this is Karpens work, I'm just trying to get this idea "out there" because it COULD change the world as we know it. Also I don't mind people pointing out flaws - go right ahead - I answered the ones you addressed rather politely didn't I? What I do mind is when people completely miss the point and attack things not really related to the issue itself, such as my poor language skills (I'm swedish so I'm doing the best I can, you'll haveto live with it from now on) or other such things. I was not really aware that I "insisted" I was right but I suppose I may have said that one way or another as I can't see any other reasonable explanation if the Pile is the real deal... but shouldn't my arrogance just motivate you further to prove me wrong and make you want to rub some numbers in my face? Maybe I have made a mistake regarding how civilised this forum is.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby poxic » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:54 am UTC

MrAwesome, it might help you to know that the xkcd forums are regularly bombarded by people who, while they don't actually have a degree in the subject they're talking about, nevertheless think they've found something awesome that they want others to be excited about, too.

The thing is, there are many regulars here who do, in fact, have relevant degrees (which means they've studied the fallacies as well as the truths). And they are pretty damn tired of people who say "hey, I read a book (or a wiki page, or a website, or two or four of each) and I think I've found something that science has overlooked!"

Because really, if science has overlooked something, it's pretty much guaranteed that there's a grad student (one with all of the required background and training) who is studying exactly this idea, and equipped with a university laboratory. There are millions of very smart, very educated, very determined grad students who are all trying to become the next Einstein or Hawking or Feynman or Bohr or Gell-Mann or Crick or ... you get the point.

So don't take this personally, but you're really unlikely to have found something that no one else knows about. You're much, much more likely to have found something that has been already disproven and are being fed your ideas from a crackpot's rambling on this or that subject. The only way to prove it to yourself, first, before trying to convince anyone else, is for you to undergo some formal training in chemistry and/or physics (the line between the two gets blurrier by the day).
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:26 am UTC

poxic wrote:MrAwesome, it might help you to know that the xkcd forums are regularly bombarded by people who, while they don't actually have a degree in the subject they're talking about, nevertheless think they've found something awesome that they want others to be excited about, too.

The thing is, there are many regulars here who do, in fact, have relevant degrees (which means they've studied the fallacies as well as the truths). And they are pretty damn tired of people who say "hey, I read a book (or a wiki page, or a website, or two or four of each) and I think I've found something that science has overlooked!"

Because really, if science has overlooked something, it's pretty much guaranteed that there's a grad student (one with all of the required background and training) who is studying exactly this idea, and equipped with a university laboratory. There are millions of very smart, very educated, very determined grad students who are all trying to become the next Einstein or Hawking or Feynman or Bohr or Gell-Mann or Crick or ... you get the point.

So don't take this personally, but you're really unlikely to have found something that no one else knows about. You're much, much more likely to have found something that has been already disproven and are being fed your ideas from a crackpot's rambling on this or that subject. The only way to prove it to yourself, first, before trying to convince anyone else, is for you to undergo some formal training in chemistry and/or physics (the line between the two gets blurrier by the day).


I get your point and I'm already very discouraged to remain here, it seems I'm just another moron trying to put two and two together without getting a major in math first. I have tried politely and clearly explaining Why a certain idea would work and Why it could have been overlooked (and could be overlooked for many more decades) but nobody seems interested in wether or not its even possible that I'm right because I'm nobody from nowhere and I know nothing.

By the way, my nickname might have been a poor choice but I didn't know what this forum had waiting for me and for a second I thought it would look fun. Guess I need to take some classes in comedy.

Know this, when I was 12 years old I wondered if laser could be used to make an electrical discharge follow a certain path through air. A decade later - a few years ago - I read an article about how the US military was experimenting with this very idea and said they were making progress. Guess the US military is a bunch of uneducated crackpot retards with too much imagination too.

I'll hang around long enough to read a few more replies and then never come back so you can get on with your lives.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby poxic » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:36 am UTC

If, for example, you never studied a serious amount of engineering or architecture, and yet you run around saying "hey, look at this AWESOME idea for a new type of office building that someone had years ago that NO ONE is paying attention to!", and every engineer and architect you talk to says "meh, it's seriously flawed"... really? You'd still think you were right?

Really?
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Charlie! » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:37 am UTC

Have you heard of the oxford electric bell? Ringing since 1840. Ordinary science can produce this sort of thing just fine.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby BlackSails » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:28 am UTC

MrAwesome wrote:
For almost two decades I have toyed with the idea of finding a way to harvest more useful energy from just molecular movement; basically turning heat into electricity. I always figured this would be easiest to accomplish by using a layer of atoms that have a far out electron shell with a single electron that is able to "jump off" comparatively easily without destabilizing the atoms molecular bindings, resulting in the electron getting "trapped" in another medium and transferred to another conducting layer, I think you get the picture. For the odd electron to get smacked out of orbit from the first layer my guess was that it could be done by either a liquid or gas that would provide a constant bombardment of molecules... Unfortunately I never really managed to get along with many of my teachers and failed many classes mostly due to lack of effort, this all contributed to me not having much food for my thoughts and most theories I came up with never got far. I recently read an article about "the battery that has been going for 60 years" and as I examined the "Karpen's Pile" more closely, my jaw just dropped. I thought to myself "either gold or platinum MUST have the ability to lose electrons with little effort" and immediately dug up a periodic table... As I examined their electron shells it suddenly dawned on me, platinum is used in catalytic converters because of its abilty to ionize almost anything it comes into contact with! Next on my list was the sulfuric acid, could it be the ultimate electron thief? Looking closely at the molecule and reading some related material I realised that sulfuric acid has a rather strong difference in electric charge when comparing one end to the other, and the molecule itself should be big enough to absorb an extra electron if it would be applied to the positive end of the molecule. Both platinum and gold are also otherwise unaffected by sulfuric acid.



Most of this is just plain wrong.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby ++$_ » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:40 am UTC

It wouldn't actually be that expensive to test a gold-platinum battery. Gold leaf is really cheap, and gold-plated things are also really cheap (around here, you typically get a gold-plated connector any time you buy audio equipment). Platinum is more expensive, but a platinum electrode should still cost no more than $50 US.

I also have trouble believing it is illegal to get sulfuric acid in Sweden -- if not, what do you use in your car batteries? And if it is, then how do they expect people to do chemistry experiments? :P
MrAwesome wrote:I thought to myself "either gold or platinum MUST have the ability to lose electrons with little effort" and immediately dug up a periodic table... As I examined their electron shells it suddenly dawned on me, platinum is used in catalytic converters because of its abilty to ionize almost anything it comes into contact with!
This is actually backwards. Platinum has a very high ionization energy for a metal, which means that it is less ready to give up its electrons than other metals. In fact, all the period-4 transition metals are more willing than platinum to give up an electron. The same is true of gold.

By the way, the reason people are reacting badly to your post can be summarized pretty nicely by this Dilbert. You're essentially saying "I came up with this great idea: see what you can do with it." It's not very polite, as a non-expert, to go up to an expert (or anyone, for that matter) and say "I present to you my brilliant idea that will revolutionize your field. Too bad you guys didn't think of it before. I guess it took my unique intellect and creativity to come up with it." Even if the idea really is brilliant, it's still rude; and it almost never is really brilliant.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MrAwesome » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:52 am UTC

++$_ wrote:It wouldn't actually be that expensive to test a gold-platinum battery. Gold leaf is really cheap, and gold-plated things are also really cheap (around here, you typically get a gold-plated connector any time you buy audio equipment). Platinum is more expensive, but a platinum electrode should still cost no more than $50 US.

I also have trouble believing it is illegal to get sulfuric acid in Sweden -- if not, what do you use in your car batteries? And if it is, then how do they expect people to do chemistry experiments? :P
MrAwesome wrote:I thought to myself "either gold or platinum MUST have the ability to lose electrons with little effort" and immediately dug up a periodic table... As I examined their electron shells it suddenly dawned on me, platinum is used in catalytic converters because of its abilty to ionize almost anything it comes into contact with!
This is actually backwards. Platinum has a very high ionization energy for a metal, which means that it is less ready to give up its electrons than other metals. In fact, all the period-4 transition metals are more willing than platinum to give up an electron. The same is true of gold.

By the way, the reason people are reacting badly to your post can be summarized pretty nicely by this Dilbert. You're essentially saying "I came up with this great idea: see what you can do with it." It's not very polite, as a non-expert, to go up to an expert (or anyone, for that matter) and say "I present to you my brilliant idea that will revolutionize your field. Too bad you guys didn't think of it before. I guess it took my unique intellect and creativity to come up with it." Even if the idea really is brilliant, it's still rude; and it almost never is really brilliant.


First of all THANK YOU for taking my idea seriously, I'm still leaving this forum but you made me hate it a lot less.

As for gold and platinum, you have no idea how expensive everything is in Sweden, we seriously pack 2-3 guys in a car and drive all the way to Germany just to buy a load of BEER and then head home and at the end of the day it was cheaper than buying it here. Gold-plated items is an interesting idea but I fear it would be very tricky to handle when in contact with sulfuric acid... Speaking of the acid, according to Karpen it should be very pure, and as far as I know you can't get that by legal means here, even if you can buy the batteries the only refill I've seen for them is distilled water. Long story short I have almost no income and can't afford experimenting with anything more expensive than what the local scrap yard can provide. :(

Regarding what the gold and platinum are up to I might be wrong, but since they don't react with most chemicals I think they are extremely inefficient (also indicated both by your statement and the crappy output of the original device) but the only option one would be able to find to make the idea work? Far as I understand pretty much all other metals would cause chemical reactions, and that would render the device useless...

I completely understand your point regarding how I might seem rude, but how the ### would I have been able to present my "theory" to anyone if everyone with enough education and brainpower to understand it has to take it completely personal for no damn reason? I've been fixing broken computers for 15 years but I sure as hell don't get mad if someone asks me what would happen if you changed a fan and if it would provide better airflow to a critical part. Frankly I thought highly of the people here BEFORE they "opened their mouths", suddenly most of them seem just like any unpleasant bastards one might encounter anywhere, not a damn thing about them indicates any civilised behavior.

Again, thank you for not treating me like I have no idea what I'm talking about, I wish happiness and prosperity for you.

...and for all those who can't even be nice to a stranger with a strange idea, you can all drink a car battery and see if you get a more interesting reaction. Goodbye.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby dedalus » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:59 pm UTC

Ok, so from a physics student's perspective:

In the battery you're describing, you're probably going to be making the reaction Au->Au(1+) + e(-), or Pt->Pt(1+) + (e-) or something similar. Either way, when you do that, the metal gives up the electron and goes into solution with the Sulphuric acid, and sits around there. Which is pretty much what you were thinking about when you said 'soaked up'. When that happens, the only way you're going to get the gold back is if you can reverse the process, which requires you to input exactly the same amount of energy you got before. Basically, the first law of thermodynamics does exist; you can't get something from nothing. More importantly, you can't 'lose electrons but not atoms'; you have to get electrons from somewhere, and most of the electrons you see on Earth are sitting in orbit around atoms. Once you take the electron from the gold or the platinum, you won't get another (except in some cases, e.g. Magnesium, where you get 2 electrons).

So I'm 100% sure that if you were to run a battery like you described, if it produces an electric current, it's because you're either losing platinum or gold into your sulphuric acid solution. In fact, at the same time, you're quite possibly going to produce hydrogen gas, because something has to occur at the other side to soak up the electrons, and from your setup the only thing I can see occurring is 2H(+) + 2e(-) -> H2. But I'm not even sure if that's going to happen, because I think that both gold and platinum hold their electrons too tight for the sulphuric acid to dissolve it. So chances are that it's not going to do anything.

As for the Karpen Pile, my best guess is that it has a rather long lifespan just because there's not much of an energy requirement; I.E. it has a very slow chemical reaction that only provides a small amount of energy, but it's all that the motor needs to keep spinning. I'd really doubt it's a perpetual motion machine.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Tass » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:33 pm UTC

MrAwesome wrote:For almost two decades I have toyed with the idea of finding a way to harvest more useful energy from just molecular movement; basically turning heat into electricity. I always figured this would be easiest to accomplish by using a layer of atoms that have a far out electron shell with a single electron that is able to "jump off" comparatively easily without destabilizing the atoms molecular bindings, resulting in the electron getting "trapped" in another medium and transferred to another conducting layer, I think you get the picture.


It is indeed possible for electrons to be transferred from one material to another by thermal energy when they are in contact. Look up p-n junction. Trouble is you have to get the electrons flowing back to extract energy from them, and you can only do that if the junction where they flow back have a different temperature. If there is a temperature difference then you can indeed get energy out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_effect but without a difference in temperature it can be mathematically proven that it is impossible.

I don't know what you hoped for when coming here. You had an idea, you didn't have the knowledge to know whether it was good or not, you came here to ask people with better understanding than you. Keep in mind that while a good idea occasionally do come from the outside such ideas are one in a billion. The answer to your question was basically: "No, sorry can't work, try again." It wasn't the answer you hoped for, so now you hate us.

The only one who was remotely rude to you was TMT for using the word crackpot, I don't see what anyone else has done to offend you.

MrAwesome wrote:I completely understand your point regarding how I might seem rude, but how the ### would I have been able to present my "theory" to anyone if everyone with enough education and brainpower to understand it has to take it completely personal for no damn reason? I've been fixing broken computers for 15 years but I sure as hell don't get mad if someone asks me what would happen if you changed a fan and if it would provide better airflow to a critical part. Frankly I thought highly of the people here BEFORE they "opened their mouths", suddenly most of them seem just like any unpleasant bastards one might encounter anywhere, not a damn thing about them indicates any civilised behavior.


No one took your first post personally. However when your idea was dismissed you replied with:

MrAwesome wrote:Why is it so impossible for you to grasp that it actually could be this simple?


That is arrogant. It is impossible to "grasp" because it can't be that simple. Which is evident for everyone who have just a rudimentary understanding of electrochemistry. If you had instead said "okay, would you mind telling me why it can't work?" people would have reacted much more positively. We had several people (usually teenagers) have that reaction to a dismissal of their idea, it often leads to long and educational discussions and we expect them to go on and do great things in science eventually.

MrAwesome wrote:My theory/hypothesis/whatever is actually Far Less crackpot than any other explanation I've seen


Except for the simple one: That Karpens pile don't actually work as it is claimed. Basically if it did actually work, I am sure they could get it verified somehow, and scientists would be all over it.

MrAwesome wrote:I would kindly ask that you and TMT direct your eyes and feast upon your glorious victory at the very end of my first post.


Aah come on, victim reaction much?

MrAwesome wrote:Know this, when I was 12 years old I wondered if laser could be used to make an electrical discharge follow a certain path through air. A decade later - a few years ago - I read an article about how the US military was experimenting with this very idea and said they were making progress.


Ideas are cheap, speculation is even cheaper. Making things work and finding good use for them is hard. Most of us have that experience once a week or so. It does not make you a genius.

MrAwesome wrote:Guess the US military is a bunch of uneducated crackpot retards with too much imagination too.


Imagination is good. Getting tonnes of ideas, bad as well as good ideas, is a very good thing. But you also need the knowledge and understanding to weed out the good ideas from the bad.

Was your idea more like "hmm lasers are cool and look sort of like a straight electrical discharge, I wonder if you could make a discharge ride along a laser beam" or more like "using a high powered laser it should be possible to ionize the air and make it more conductive, maybe you could actually control an electric discharge"?

MrAwesome wrote:Frankly I thought highly of the people here BEFORE they "opened their mouths", suddenly most of them seem just like any unpleasant bastards one might encounter anywhere, not a damn thing about them indicates any civilised behavior.

Again, thank you for not treating me like I have no idea what I'm talking about, I wish happiness and prosperity for you.

...and for all those who can't even be nice to a stranger with a strange idea, you can all drink a car battery and see if you get a more interesting reaction. Goodbye.


If you are going to judge an entire online community by the words of a few, then I shall not miss you. Once again the only thing slightly offensive I see it TMT calling using the word crackpot. And he didn't even call you a crackpot. He called you "theory" a crackpot theory, which is frankly justified, because it is the kind of idea that people tend to get attached to and fight for against all reason, which makes them crackpots.

Now you may not be. We have all had had plenty of crackpot ideas. The difference is that we are not attached to them, and when pointed out the flaws happily abandon them. A critique of your idea is not a critique of you.

Now you have a choice to make: Trust the words of those more knowledgeable than yourself - not blindly mind you, never just accept dogma, we will be happy to discuss electrochemistry and thermodynamics with you until you understand it yourself.

Or: Continue to believe that you have it all figured out and that we are all arrogant brainwashed assholes. You can then try to play around with gold, platinum and acid to try to make it work yourself. That way lies true crackpotdom. You will join the millions of others wasting their money and spare time looking for the philosophers stone, and lash out at anyone who says that it might not be worthwhile.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Velifer » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:53 pm UTC

Place gold foil on non-conductive surface. Attach lead of voltmeter to gold.
Dip acid-reistant cloth in sulfuric acid. Set on top of gold foil.
Place platinum on top of cloth. Attach other lead of voltmeter to platinum.

Voltmeter reads -.26V

Negative?
Oh no...
It's actually sucking away voltage!

THE ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION is a rift in the fabric of the universe, with the voltage being bled off into one of the other many worlds. We could use this to send a signal to them!
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Moose Hole » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:THE ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION is a rift in the fabric of the universe, with the voltage being bled off into one of the other many worlds. We could use this to send a signal to them!
Yes, but how would the other worlds know we're sending them a signal. They may be sending signals to us, but we don't know about it. Therefore, other worlds are stupid for even trying.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Winter Man » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:45 pm UTC

Heat ==> Electricity has been done repeatedly for years. Look up the Peltier-Seebeck effect.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Antimony-120 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:46 pm UTC

Winter Man wrote:Heat ==> Electricity has been done repeatedly for years. Look up the Peltier-Seebeck effect.


Not what he's trying to suggest, which is using brownian motion, i.e., it's drawing heat from a single resevoir and converting it into electricity, not using a heat difference and creating electricity from that.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby MarvinM » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:18 pm UTC

MrAwesome wrote:I've been fixing broken computers for 15 years but I sure as hell don't get mad if someone asks me what would happen if you changed a fan and if it would provide better airflow to a critical part.


How would you deal with people that tell you that if you use an extra fan you don't need a CPU for reasons intel are too greedy to admit? For anyone with a grounding in thermodynamics this is roughly what you are suggesting. When you say we haven't read or understood your theory correctly this is roughly the same as telling someone with a doctorate in semiconductor physics that they haven't understood the reason the fan can work instead is in the way the cable is coiled up and if only they would try it, it would be certain to work even though they have never tried it.

As someone having spent significant time in school age 13 trying to figure out what 3 metals would leave a Seebeck junction ring permanently unbalanced at constant temperature I understand exactly where you are coming from. The only answer is to learn the boring thermodynamics physics and gain a greater understanding of why all things obey those laws.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby oxoiron » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:33 am UTC

I can't believe I missed this thread. It's kind of sad and funny at the same time.

By the way, I figured out how it works.
Moose Hole wrote:
Velifer wrote:THE ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION is a rift in the fabric of the universe, with the voltage being bled off into one of the other many worlds. We could use this to send a signal to them!
Yes, but how would the other worlds know we're sending them a signal. They may be sending signals to us, but we don't know about it. Therefore, other worlds are stupid for even trying.
Other worlds ARE sending us signals. Those signals are powering the Karpen Pile.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Deciheximal » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:00 am UTC

MrAwesome wrote:For almost two decades I have toyed with the idea of finding a way to harvest more useful energy from just molecular movement; basically turning heat into electricity.

You mean something like this? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930154610.htm

"University of Arizona physicists have discovered a new way of harvesting waste heat and turning it into electrical power."
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Technical Ben » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:48 am UTC

Don't plants turn "wastes light" into energy? It's not an impossibility to harvest the energy that is "out there". But it is to make a forever lasting (closed system) battery.
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby wbeaty » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:51 am UTC

On Karpen's pile ...estimate the capacity of a conventional battery having the same volume. AA cells can be up in 2000 to 3000 mA-hours. If you draw a significant current from a Karpen pile, how many hours must pass before you find that it has higher capacity than the best modern battery technology?

Or said another way: if we used hidden lithium batteries to make a "Karpen Pile" Perpetual Motion hoax, how long would our hoax mechanism run before the hidden batteries conked out? Have it run some small incandescent bulbs (xmas tree bulbs.)
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Aelfyre » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:50 pm UTC

wbeaty wrote:On Karpen's pile ...estimate the capacity of a conventional battery having the same volume. AA cells can be up in 2000 to 3000 mA-hours. If you draw a significant current from a Karpen pile, how many hours must pass before you find that it has higher capacity than the best modern battery technology?

Or said another way: if we used hidden lithium batteries to make a "Karpen Pile" Perpetual Motion hoax, how long would our hoax mechanism run before the hidden batteries conked out? Have it run some small incandescent bulbs (xmas tree bulbs.)



it'll run as long as you say it does as long as you hide it in an office and claim you can't show it to anyone due to "lack of security"
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby ++$_ » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

The Oxford Electric Bell has been running for 170 years now. So, the answer is "at least 170 years" for appropriate values of "significant current."

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Carnildo » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:54 am UTC

++$_ wrote:The Oxford Electric Bell has been running for 170 years now. So, the answer is "at least 170 years" for appropriate values of "significant current."

Almost anyone would say that the Oxford Bell is drawing trivial amounts of current.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Technical Ben » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:17 am UTC

But if we wire up millions of them together...
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Von Em » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:44 am UTC

Um, while you guys were piling discouragement onto the 'crackpot' who started the thread, it seems as if a team of researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic was working on pretty much this very idea.

It's actually pretty interesting how it's supposed to work. Google 'graphene battery' and watch what pops up.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:12 pm UTC

Von Em wrote:Um, while you guys were piling discouragement onto the 'crackpot' who started the thread, it seems as if a team of researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic was working on pretty much this very idea.
If someone in the intervening four years has built something to test the OP's "theory", great, but that doesn't change the fact that presenting the idea with no empirical evidence to back it up was then and always shall remain idle hypothesizing, not any kind of theory.

(Also, having vaguely the same shape as an already fairly imprecise description of something that a person with little scientific knowledge thinks might work is not the same as "pretty much this very idea".)
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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby sevenperforce » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:53 pm UTC

I'm surprised that no one caught the immediate red flag of "turn heat into electricity" and explained the restrictions of thermodynamics in, like, the second or third reply.

If someone says they want to turn heat into electricity, they probably mean "without an exchange reservoir". If that's what they really mean, then they should be immediately directed to the Brownian ratchet and asked to please investigate it until they realize why it will not work.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:38 pm UTC

Sonuva...I had a great rant written up when I realized how ancient the OP was.

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Re: "The battery that isn't a battery" - my own simple theor

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:18 pm UTC

Yeah, good point. The thread is more than 4 years old and was started by an OP who quit when we wouldn't take his baseless hypothesis seriously enough. I don't really see any reason to keep it unlocked.

If someone wants to start a new thread about graphene batteries, go right ahead.
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