Friday, August 31, 2007

US Patent 7262515 - Molecular perpetual motion machine

While I'm not certain whether this patent represents enabled technology or not, it certainly sounds like something that is not exactly in agreement with the second law of thermodynamics. Basically the patent teaches using impacts of molecules of a gas on nanoscopic paddles to simultaneously cool a gas formed from the molecules and convert the mechanical energy from the paddle gained by the impact into a more useful form. However, this would seem to be equivalent to transforming a random form of energy (such as heat) to a more ordered form of energy (such as stored chemical energy) which is not exactly explainable by modern thermodynamics (as far as I know). The claims were not questioned under the utility or enablement requirements of patentability during prosecution though. In any case, claim 1 reads:

1. A system immersed in a working substance having a plurality of molecules, said system comprising: a base member; a source of heat for heating said working substance; and a plurality of nanometer scale assemblies that convert energy from one form to another coupled to said base member, each of said nanometer scale assemblies comprising: a molecular impact mass that reduces the velocity of said molecules that impact said impact mass, wherein said impact mass is restrained to move within a predetermined range of distance and the movement of said impact mass in one direction is limited.