Dave Rants &
Raves, March 26, 2010
By: Dave Johnson
Strange Heat Production: About 30 years ago I was
part owner of a research and development company. We were trying to develop a number
of inventions as well as provide consulting engineering services. We had a PhD
physicist helping us with some of the more sticky technical issues. One day the
physicist showed me a copy of an engineering report he had obtained from a well-known
engineering company in the Denver area. The company asked us to review and comment
on the report. The report described a strange heat phenomenon, which had stumped
some of their top engineers.
|Since it has been over 30
years, I'm a little sketchy about the details, but I still remember most of the important
data. An inventor was developing a new type of propeller for use in high speed
racing boats. To test his props, he built a large water tank. At one end of
the tank he built a powerful engine, similar to the type used by the racing boats.
The shaft from the engine ran through a watertight seal that extended into the tank.
Connected to the shaft he had a number of sensors, which could measure the speed, torque
and thrust of the propeller. Using such a system he could test various propeller
designs. According to the report, the inventor noticed that after running the system
for a while, the water in the tank became quite hot. He was also having problems
getting consistent speed and thrust measurements. So, he asked for some help from a
local engineering company, known for its experience in heavy industrial measurements.
|The engineers quickly solved
the inventor’s instrumentation problems but were intrigued by the rapid rise of
temperature in the water tank. They indicated in their report that the racing engine
had its own closed circuit cooling system and did not use the water in the tank.
Their report went on to say that the only source of heat in the tank was the frictional
heat from the spinning propeller. They ran many experiments. They carefully
measured the volume of the water in the tank, the approximate heat loss through the tank
walls and the rate of temperature rise of the water, as the propeller spun. They
repeated their tests several times and got similar results. But, they could not
explain the rapid rate of temperature rise, which seemed to exceed the shaft power
multiplied by the operating time of the propeller. The water temperature rise
measurements even seem to exceed the estimate of the energy content of the fuel during a
test session. They were completely perplexed. How could the temperature of the
water in the tank increase at a rate higher than possible? Their measurements seemed
to violate the conventional laws of physics. The inventor was not trying to sell his
system as a water heater; he was trying to sell speedboat racing propellers. So,
there did not appear to be a motive to hide something, like an auxiliary heater some
place. The engineers double and triple checked all of their measurements and could
not find any gross errors. They walked away from the system shaking their heads.
They just could not figure out where they were making an error in their analysis of the
system. So, they sent a copy of their report to us to review.
|The PhD physicist and I looked
over all the calculations but could not find any faults either. I called this
phenomenon “thermal tunneling” since it seemed like the water could be heated more rapidly
than otherwise possible, like it “tunneled” its way through from one temperature to
another. It would have taken a large error in the measurements to explain the
results. The engineering company was well respected and we didn’t think their
engineers could have missed something as simple as a X10 error in the water tank volume or
an equal gross error in their temperature measurements. Like them, we could only
shake are heads and chalk it up to as something unknown.
|Decades later, while searching
on the Internet one day I ran across an interesting video about a company who also has a
strange heating device. If true, perhaps their machine is tapping into the same
unknown thermal tunneling affect that the propeller used. I have listed a link to
this story below. Let me know what you think.