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12.6.5. Logic: Unscience: Energy


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 12. The TAO Design Process > 12.6. The Logic Cloud > 12.6.2. Unscience: Energy

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With simple science and unscience approach, you can think about energy and how you can use it in innovative ways.

Fig. 12.6 The logic cloud

Energy can come from the chemical action, location, movement, heat and electromagnetic activity. If the wind blows you can use it. If the sun shines you can use it. Even if things simply go from hot to cold naturally you can use it.

  • Storing energy. Where does the energy that you use come from? How is it stored? Do you need all of the energy you have stored? Could you manage with less? If use of energy is an important factor, you might like to think about the different forms of storage, from batteries to rubber bands. You can also use external sources, such as solar or wind power.
  • Converting energy. When you use energy, it gets converted. How efficient is your system at doing this? Can you convert it back again? How many stages of conversion are there? An internal combustion engine goes from chemical conversion to heat to movement up and down, then around and around, losing energy in each connection between gears, when all you want is to move the vehicle forwards.
  • Chemical energy. Are there any chemical reactions in your invention? No? If there are atoms involved, and especially if there are more than one type of atom, then some chemical effects will be happening. Chemical reactions are often speeded up by heat, including unwanted ones such as oxidation. They also may be triggered by catalysts. How are these effects happening? How can you use them to your advantage? How can you prevent unwanted reactions? Light bulbs contain inert gases to slow the decay of the tungsten filaments.
  • Potential energy. What energy is stored by position? What potential is there? What cycles of position are there? How could energy be saved? What are the gravitational effects?
  • Movement energy. What energy is used to create movement? What energy is wasted in movement? How can you use movement to gain other benefits? Is motion circular or linear, and what are the effects? What is the locus of movement? Is any of it wasted? Is there any unnecessary movement? Sound is movement: how can this be utilised?
  • Heat energy. Heat is often the lowest form of energy. A radio start with the chemical energy in a battery, it converts to electrical energy and eventually the movement of air to create sound. But all of the energy eventually turns into heat, which can be a significant problem. What is the residual heat in your invention? How does it build up? How can you change this? What are the effects of expansion and contraction? Of melting and boiling?
  • Heat flows from hot to cold. With a high temperature gradient, heat flows quickly. With a low gradient it flows slowly. What are the heat flows within your invention? Can you channel the heat? Can you put it where it is needed and remove it from where it is not needed? How can you use conduction, convection and radiation?
  • Electromagnetic energy. What electric fields are there? What magnetic fields? Can these be used with energy in some way? Light is also electromagnetic: how can this be utilised? Can you use solar energy? How does changing colour affect things? Can magnets be used in some way? How about electric motors?

Other dimensions of unscience:

Other sections in this chapter are:

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