Free Energy from freezing water (ice expansion) - Am I nuts? What am I missing?

Woodsman

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So I was watching this video about the power of expanding ice; the "Action Lab" guy sealed water in a metal pipe and froze it. The expanding ice caused the pipe to explode. It was a cool video:


Water to Ice expansion creates MASSIVE pressure, like crush a submarine 100x over sort of pressure.

It set me to thinking; "Well.., geez! That's an awful lot of energy. Where does it come from?"

So I did some novice calculations (which I've written in average-joe English steps below so if you follow along you will understand rather than glaze over as with most scientific papers. I encourage you to do so in order for my thoughts to have meaning)...



-Pounds of pressure per square inch exerted by expanding ice: 43,511 lbs (19,736 Kg)​
-1 inch = 2.54 cm (Converting to metric)​
-Energy needed to change 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celsius = 4200 joules (To melt or to freeze, you need to move that much energy.)​
-Weight of 2.54 cubic cm of water = 0.00254 Kg​
(runs the math)​
-2.54 cubic cm requires 10.67 joules to freeze from 1 degree Celcius to 0.
(runs more math)​
-Force exerted by the expansion of 2.54 cubic cm of water freezing to ice = 19,736.26 Kg pressure
-Distance traveled (You need to know distance and time traveled to make use of work/force calculations.)​
ice grows by about 9 percent from liquid = 2.8 mm (rough estimate)​
-Energy required to lift 19736.26 Kg over 2.8 mm = 542 joules

Soooo... While it takes about 11 joules of energy to change water 1 degree C between liquid and frozen, doing so generates 542 joules of energy.

Melting would take another 11 joules of energy, which would drop the weight, releasing the potential energy.

Rinse & repeat.

Now.., engineering complexities aside.., (it takes some work to visualize mechanisms which could aim and capture that energy in a useful form) that seems like an absolutely massive return on energy investment. Completely out of proportion.

Is this an example of Free Energy? Extreme thermodynamic disobeyence?

Why have I never heard about this before? You'd think the magnet wheel people would be all over it.

What am I missing?

Or...

Is this an example of genuine free energy? -Which we have all apparently missed for some reason?
 

Pat

The Force is Strong With This One
Hello @Woodsman ,
I very much like the questions you are asking yourself with things we take for granted around us and don't see or wonder anymore. I have been asking myself some questions about electricity since I was a child and never came around and did calculation. Bravo! I would love to know the answer(s) to your questions.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
So I was watching this video about the power of expanding ice; the "Action Lab" guy sealed water in a metal pipe and froze it. The expanding ice caused the pipe to explode. It was a cool video:


Water to Ice expansion creates MASSIVE pressure, like crush a submarine 100x over sort of pressure.

It set me to thinking; "Well.., geez! That's an awful lot of energy. Where does it come from?"

So I did some novice calculations (which I've written in average-joe English steps below so if you follow along you will understand rather than glaze over as with most scientific papers. I encourage you to do so in order for my thoughts to have meaning)...



-Pounds of pressure per square inch exerted by expanding ice: 43,511 lbs (19,736 Kg)​
-1 inch = 2.54 cm (Converting to metric)​
-Energy needed to change 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celsius = 4200 joules (To melt or to freeze, you need to move that much energy.)​
-Weight of 2.54 cubic cm of water = 0.00254 Kg​
(runs the math)​
-2.54 cubic cm requires 10.67 joules to freeze from 1 degree Celcius to 0.
(runs more math)​
-Force exerted by the expansion of 2.54 cubic cm of water freezing to ice = 19,736.26 Kg pressure
-Distance traveled (You need to know distance and time traveled to make use of work/force calculations.)​
ice grows by about 9 percent from liquid = 2.8 mm (rough estimate)​
-Energy required to lift 19736.26 Kg over 2.8 mm = 542 joules

Soooo... While it takes about 11 joules of energy to change water 1 degree C between liquid and frozen, doing so generates 542 joules of energy.

Melting would take another 11 joules of energy, which would drop the weight, releasing the potential energy.

Rinse & repeat.

Now.., engineering complexities aside.., (it takes some work to visualize mechanisms which could aim and capture that energy in a useful form) that seems like an absolutely massive return on energy investment. Completely out of proportion.

Is this an example of Free Energy? Extreme thermodynamic disobeyence?

Why have I never heard about this before? You'd think the magnet wheel people would be all over it.

What am I missing?

Or...

Is this an example of genuine free energy? -Which we have all apparently missed for some reason?
Interesting stuff.
Off the top of my head, though, I don’t think it’s that straightforward to calculate the amount of energy needed to cool the water down by one degree. You’d need some kind of refrigerator, and these things aren’t that efficient. I would assume we are nowhere close enough to be able to cool it down without significant losses of energy invested.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
Interesting stuff.
Off the top of my head, though, I don’t think it’s that straightforward to calculate the amount of energy needed to cool the water down by one degree. You’d need some kind of refrigerator, and these things aren’t that efficient. I would assume we are nowhere close enough to be able to cool it down without significant losses of energy invested.
Actually, just did some quick research on my smoke break and it seems that refrigerator, like heat pumps, can provide more than 100% efficiency, but they also greatly depend on the temperature difference so this could only work in cold climates.
Thinking about this some more, freezing and refreezing ice is a slow process. Put any significant amount of water, even if it’s already cold, in your freezer and wait to see how long it takes to freeze completely. I don’t see how this could be utilized to produce any sort of useful work. Work depends on the time it takes to happen, so I would think it’s very insignificant unless you supercool it so it expands very quickly. In that case you need a lot more energy upfront. Just my two laymans cents
 

mrtn

Jedi Council Member
Here is a paper I just found where they experiment with this (I did not read it fully yet)

Here Harnessing the power of ice expansion? someone mentioned a similar method, wax motors:
Not water, but a similar principle is used in so called wax motors. They are linear actuators driven by wax changing phase from solid to liquid. Unlike water, and like most material, the liquid phase is less dense than the solid phase. It can expand by as much as 20%. The wax, typically some kind of paraffin, can be tailor-made to change phase at a specific temperature.
Interesting stuff:-)
 

Woodsman

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Interesting stuff.
Off the top of my head, though, I don’t think it’s that straightforward to calculate the amount of energy needed to cool the water down by one degree. You’d need some kind of refrigerator, and these things aren’t that efficient. I would assume we are nowhere close enough to be able to cool it down without significant losses of energy invested.
I agree. -But that's an engineering problem not directly connected to phenomenon itself.

If you just set up a bunch of ice-pistons in a room, raising and lowering a big weight, then the ambient temperature of a cold night versus a warm day would cause the phase shift in the ice. -Just like it does on a snowy driveway or the face of a glacier. The question is, efficiencies aside, is the input energy needed to freeze and melt the ice greater than the output mechanical work?

My crude calculations would suggest.., not by a long way.


I was thinking about this some more...

With magnets, the problem is that you can't turn them off. -If there was some sort of switch you could throw which would change or cut off the magnetic force, then you could indeed set up some kind perpetual motion machine. The problem is that you can't. You always need just as much force to pull magnets apart as they provided in coming together. At best, magnets are a form of energy battery.

However, with a small temperature change, you can change the molecular attractive properties of H20. -These strong atomic forces are operating on a different order, outside the realm of standard Newtonian physics. It's not gravitational force with momentum and acceleration equations, nor is it an electrical force, and it's not magnetism. It's something else. The force of atomic attraction and the forming of crystal latices.

One would assume that this force similarly converts energy from one type of force to another, as it does with electricity, heat and motion, with no loss or gain in a perfect system. -But I've not heard anybody talk about that before. The force of atomic attraction, like the magnet, never turns off, but with a phase shift, you can apparently alter the expression of its power in a way which has visible and powerful mechanical results. Bursting pipes, to name but one. The energy required to split a thick water pipe certainly isn't coming from heat alone.

There are other technologies which work by leveraging atomic properties (and were supposedly inspired by aliens) -Like the humble transistor, a small amount of energy changes the molecular properties to allow allows a big charge through a gate; there's a reason you can use transistors to create amplifiers. -But they stay safely within the laws of energy conservation. No need to limit their application.

Crystal formation was also the principle upon which Cold Fusion was based; crystals forming create enough pressure to fuse atoms. -The crystals in that case, however, were grown through an electrolytic process.

It is a point of interest that none of the arguments against Cold Fusion, from what I could gather, were based on anybody disagreeing that the theoretical concept was valid, but rather were all aimed at disproving that a practical demonstration had been achieved.
 
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Revolucionar

Jedi Master
I agree. -But that's an engineering problem not directly connected to phenomenon itself.

If you just set up a bunch of ice-pistons in a room, raising and lowering a big weight, then the ambient temperature of a cold night versus a warm day would cause the phase shift in the ice. -Just like it does on a snowy driveway or the face of a glacier. The question is, efficiencies aside, is the input energy needed to freeze and melt the ice greater than the output mechanical work?

My crude calculations would suggest.., not by a long way.


I was thinking about this some more...

With magnets, the problem is that you can't turn them off. -If there was some sort of switch you could throw which would change or cut off the magnetic force, then you could indeed set up some kind perpetual motion machine. The problem is that you can't. You always need just as much force to pull magnets apart as they provided in coming together. At best, magnets are a form of energy battery.

However, with a small temperature change, you can change the molecular attractive properties of H20. -These strong atomic forces are operating on a different order, outside the realm of standard Newtonian physics. It's not gravitational force with momentum and acceleration equations, nor is it an electrical force, and it's not magnetism. It's something else. The force of atomic attraction and the forming of crystal latices.

One would assume that this force similarly converts energy from one type of force to another, as it does with electricity, heat and motion, but I've not heard anybody talk about that before.

There are other technologies which work by leveraging atomic properties (and were supposedly inspired by aliens) -Like the humble transistor, a small amount of energy changes the molecular properties to allow allows a big charge through a gate; there's a reason you can use transistors to create amplifiers. -But they stay safely within the laws of energy conservation. No need to limit their application.

Crystal formation was also the principle upon which Cold Fusion was based; crystals forming create enough pressure to fuse atoms. -The crystals in that case, however, were grown through by an electrolytic process.

It is a point of interest that none of the arguments against Cold Fusion, from what I could gather, were based on anybody disagreeing that the theoretical concept was valid, but rather were all aimed at disproving that a practical demonstration had been achieved.
See my other post. I might be wrong, but the slowness of the process of freezing is a constraining factor.
I’m not sure if I’m confusing Joules with Watts, but you need Watts to power a machine that would do somethinng useful. Watts are dependent on time. So if you use the same amount of energy over a longer period of time you are using less watts. I don’t thunk you could power a generator with the glacial speed of freezing ice. Besides, I don’t see how you could completely freeze and unfreeze any significant amount of water in a relatively short time span other than using enormous amount of energy.
 

Woodsman

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Here is a paper I just found where they experiment with this (I did not read it fully yet)

Here Harnessing the power of ice expansion? someone mentioned a similar method, wax motors:

Interesting stuff:-)
I ran across that paper while muddling through this.

Apparently somebody built a working go-kart which would ride around at 10-15 km per hour for about 10 minutes on energy stored from a night's freezing in the form of compressed gas:

ice kart.jpg

This is the line which stood out for me: "The developed model showed that there is a possibility to generate about 22 kJ by freezing 1 litre of water."

It takes 4200 joules to make a 1 degree change in one liter of water. -So as long as a machine stays within a 1 or 2 degree margin, there's a net gain. AKA, magic!


I might be wrong, but the slowness of the process of freezing is a constraining factor.

Yes, but like I said, this is an engineering problem. -By which I mean, the physical forces involved are base-line rules of the universe; Physicists study those and reveal their findings. Meanwhile, Engineers have to figure out how to scale those discovered properties efficiently so that they can be useful in human application. Most engineering problems have answers so long as the universal principles function as predicted.

-A match stick when set to flame makes a little puff of light and heat. What could you possibly do with that physical force? Not much. It's so small.

Except based on that principle, rockets are launched into orbit. Automobiles drive every day.

If you stick two wires into a lemon, you get a tiny electrical charge. What could you possibly do with that physical force? Not much. It's so small.

Except the entire global electricity grid, including now fleets of new electric cars, run on the same principle. -Quite literally, in the case of cars; little cylinders of acid and metal probes are only different from lemons in the choice of materials. There are basically a bank of several hundred lemons powering a Tesla.

Engineers take these kinds of forces and learn how to scale them up to levels where humans can find use for them.

The thing which might critically prevent the use of ice expansion as a useful mechanical force isn't the engineering side (imagine a whole warehouse of efficient air tanks as used by that ice-kart; an example of a scaled-up implementation), but rather whether or not there is some physical barrier, a place where the apparently 'free' energy is negated in the process itself.

That's what I'm interested in here.

If ice expansion proves to merely be another kind of 'battery', then really, it's not that big a deal. We can stick with wind farms and fossil fuel.

I want to know if ice expansion is a legit example of Free Energy. -Or at least energy which doesn't come from traditional sources as we understand them. Perhaps drawn from the fabric of reality itself? That Zero Point stuff I've heard rumors about.
 
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Pashalis

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
We can stick with wind farms

A sidenote; I think it is rather unlikely that "we can stick with wind farms" in our current civilization:

Wind Energy - "green energy" scam?

Theoretically we could rely on wind farms, but only if our civilization would seriously deindustrialize, probably to a point well before the industrial revolution, when people were still traveling on horseback and there was no or very little electricity.
 

Mark7

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Seems like there's some potential for energy production here that could certainly be investigated. One way to possibly harness the energy of pressure via ice expansion would be to compress crystals - piezoelectricity.


Latent heat of solidification is important in this discussion as well it seems:

The amount of energy needed to lower the temperature of a volume of water 1 degree (in any unit) is less than is required to change that volume of water at the freezing point into ice, with no change in temperature. a similar thing happens when turning liquid water into gas - the latent heat of fusion/solidification. The good thing here is the energy required comes from cold weather.

What is Latent Heat of Fusion?

Latent heat of fusion, also known as enthalpy of fusion, is the amount of energy that must be supplied to a solid substance (typically in the form of heat) in order to trigger a change in its physical state and convert it into a liquid (when the pressure of the environment is kept constant). For example, the latent heat of fusion of one kilogram of water, which is the amount of heat energy that must be supplied to convert 1 kg of ice without changing the temperature of the environment (which is kept at zero degrees celsius) is 333.55 kilojoules.

It can be noted that the opposite of latent heat of fusion is the heat of solidification, which is the amount of energy that must be supplied to a liquid in order to facilitate a phase change and the conversion of the liquid into a solid. It can also be noted that the value of the heat of solidification of a substance is always equal in magnitude to the latent heat of fusion but always bears an opposite sign. For example, the amount of energy absorbed by ice to become water is equal to the amount of energy liberated by water to become ice.

The latent heat of fusion of a substance also accounts for the energy required to accommodate any increase in the volume of the substance post the change of its physical state. The temperature at which the substance undergoes the phase transition is called the melting point of the substance. This temperature point can also be referred to as the freezing point of the substance when the heat of solidification is being considered. Unless specified to be otherwise, the pressure of the environment (when expressing the latent heat of fusion of a substance) is always assumed to be 1 atmosphere of pressure (which is roughly equal to 101.325 kilopascals).
[...]

At any rate:

What seems to happen wherever there is a potential energy technology that could be developed to benefit people is that large corporations would naturally develop it on a gigantic scale. A large plant producing the energy for a large number of... consumers. No research funding would be available for smaller-scale implementations for individuals or small local groups.

Small scale windmills were once successfully used to do all kinds of work, not just milling. The large windmills today have a lot of issues and are proving to be wasteful.

Everything would be so much easier without the PTB, but a growing number of individuals are becoming interested in 'free energy' applications. It's nice to see. Someday, somewhere people will own these technologies rather than just have access to them as consumers. In other words, small-scale versions that can be built in a job-shop environment, or even someone's garage. Small is beautiful.
 

rs

Jedi Council Member
Is this an example of Free Energy? Extreme thermodynamic disobeyence?

Why have I never heard about this before? You'd think the magnet wheel people would be all over it.

What am I missing?

Or...

Is this an example of genuine free energy? -Which we have all apparently missed for some reason?
What you are missing is the three laws. (Of thermodynamics, not robotics). It is said that the novelist and physicist CP Snow devised three clever phrases to help one remember the three laws of thermodynamics: First Law - You can't win. Second Law - You can't even break even. Third Law - You can't get out of the game.

More technically:
  • The first law, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system.
  • The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of any isolated system always increases.
  • The third law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches absolute zero.
  • absolute zero - The lowest temperature that is theoretically possible.
  • entropy - A thermodynamic property that is the measure of a system’s thermal energy per unit of temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work.
You are basically describing a "heat engine". It takes energy to cool the water. Not just the energy of solidification but the energy required to solidify the water relative to the rest of the environment.

The bugaboo to the whole perpetual motion business is these three laws, but the caveat is that it relates to a closed (isolated) system. It is still subject to some debate whether the universe as a whole is "closed".

Bottom line: entropy is a bitch.
 

sid

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
The equation is not incorporating the energy used to create the conditions which would heat/cool the water. In the youtube example, there was energy spent in creation/bottling of liquid nitrogen. Hence, its not free energy when all processes are considered from start to the end. Fwiw
 

Woodsman

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The equation is not incorporating the energy used to create the conditions which would heat/cool the water. In the youtube example, there was energy spent in creation/bottling of liquid nitrogen. Hence, its not free energy when all processes are considered from start to the end. Fwiw
Does that include the energy used to cut down the trees to build the house the lab was inside?

Or the many miles his father drove to and from work while raising that particular young man into the science YouTuber he is today?

Naturally, there is no closed system; we're all in it, all participants.

However, there have to be reasonable boundaries drawn between the lab bench and the rest of the world, otherwise, nothing gets done.

So how about this...

A basement dug into permafrost where the temperature is stable, insulate the space and temperature regulate it using heat pumps and other efficient means so that the space can be rocked nicely between +1 and -1 degrees C.

How much energy would that take? Probably more than is used to freeze and melt ice. -However, that's not the point. The point is that the expansion phenomenon appears to be drawing energy not from the environment but from atomic behavior which I think may represent a secondary force.

What you are missing is the three laws. (Of thermodynamics, not robotics). It is said that the novelist and physicist CP Snow devised three clever phrases to help one remember the three laws of thermodynamics: First Law - You can't win. Second Law - You can't even break even. Third Law - You can't get out of the game.

More technically:
  • The first law, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system.
  • The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of any isolated system always increases.
  • The third law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches absolute zero.
  • absolute zero - The lowest temperature that is theoretically possible.
  • entropy - A thermodynamic property that is the measure of a system’s thermal energy per unit of temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work.
You are basically describing a "heat engine". It takes energy to cool the water. Not just the energy of solidification but the energy required to solidify the water relative to the rest of the environment.

The bugaboo to the whole perpetual motion business is these three laws, but the caveat is that it relates to a closed (isolated) system. It is still subject to some debate whether the universe as a whole is "closed".

Bottom line: entropy is a bitch.
I know, I know. Believe me, I know. But it is dangerous, imho, to engage in lazy thinking; to believe that it's all nicely cut & dried, to judge new ideas based on old assumptions, even if they are reliable foundations of engineering. It pays to take each new idea as it comes.

For instance, consider...

We have, right now on today's market, functioning, proven and vetted industrial-scale Free Energy devices generating many megawatts of electricity. They reliably output far more energy than input; any energy they might draw from fossil fuels or hydro or wind to grease their function is a pittance compared to their output.

It's true!

We call them, "Nuclear Reactors".

-And while the energy isn't 'free', it is being drawn from where it was stored by the Universe through the leveraging of atomic principles.

How does that fit into the garden variety application of the Three Laws of Thermodynamics?

It doesn't.
They don't advertise that part.

Isn't that just SO insufferable?

The most amazing thing is that the human population has been somehow put to sleep, mesmerized into ignoring that we have actually conquered the bugaboo of Free Energy. -They have done it by dressing it up, quite by artifice, as being horrendously expensive, dirty, dangerous, requiring government investment and control. -In spite of much better alternative approaches mothballed early on, probably exactly because they were better alternatives. Energy Freedom is poison to somebody or other.

Now.., I'm wondering if the expansion energy of ice is not drawn from mundane heating and cooling, but rather from atomic behavior of strong forces between atoms. -Behaviors which would fall outside the standard Newtonian limitations we are all accustomed to measuring things against.

In the same way that you don't have to heat up atoms with megawatts of oil-generated fire in order to get back the same or less energy after splitting them, is the crystallization of H20 an example of energy being drawn from a secondary, deep universal source and not your basement oil tank or electric air conditioner?
 
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mrtn

Jedi Council Member
Soooo... While it takes about 11 joules of energy to change water 1 degree C between liquid and frozen, doing so generates 542 joules of energy.
But just to be clear here: It's not that you must spend 11 joules to get these 542 joules back. Actually you get back both 542 + 11, but the energy you have to spend to do this is another calculation.
Still it is weird that by removing energy from the system, that system then seems to generate energy.
 

rs

Jedi Council Member
For instance, consider...

We have, right now on today's market, functioning, proven and vetted industrial-scale Free Energy devices generating many megawatts of electricity. They reliably output far more energy than input; any energy they might draw from fossil fuels or hydro or wind to grease their function is a pittance compared to their output.

It's true!

We call them, "Nuclear Reactors".

-And while the energy isn't 'free', it is being drawn from where it was stored by the Universe through the leveraging of atomic principles.

How does that fit into the garden variety application of the Three Laws of Thermodynamics?

It doesn't.
They don't advertise that part.

Isn't that just SO insufferable?

The most amazing thing is that the human population has been somehow put to sleep, mesmerized into ignoring that we have actually conquered the bugaboo of Free Energy. -They have done it by dressing it up, quite by artifice, as being horrendously expensive, dirty, dangerous, requiring government investment and control. -In spite of much better alternative approaches mothballed early on, probably exactly because they were better alternatives. Energy Freedom is poison to somebody or other.
Sigh. You are forgetting that the nuclear fuel in a nuclear reactor did not just spring into existence. All elements heavier than iron were created in a supernova. That process stored the energy of the explosion in the creation of the element.

Again, you have to read the three laws. This requires a closed system. A nuclear reactor is not a closed system. It has uranium as an input. When you explained the closed system to include the uranium, you discover that, sure enough, the three laws still apply.

Now is it conceivable that Einstein's constant represents the vacuum energy and that it is possible to engineer this energy and therefore extract what seems to be "free" energy? possibly. This has been a holy grail for some time, but we do not have sufficient understanding to determine if the vacuum energy exists, let alone how to engineer its use.
 
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