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No. 789: The Delkin Drive

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The Delkin Drive

First | Previous | 2018-08-06 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/owls/?comic=789

Strip by: LTDave

Delkin: Ok, you don't like torturing birds. How about this instead? No birds.
Delkin: Instead, we use air.
Steve: Air?
Delkin: Yes, air. Air floats, flies, whatever, Just like birds.
Oliver: But air doesn't land on things?
Delkin: But we can make it. Imagine our ferris wheel, but with gas cylinders in the carriages. Like BBQ gas things.
{picture of an LPG bottle and a ferris wheel}
Delkin: Each carriage has an air compressor built in. As the carriage gets tot he top of the wheel, the compressor pumps the cylinders full of air, making them heavy.
Delkin: The heavy carriages cause the wheel to turn.
{picture of a ferris wheel turning}
Delkin: At the bottom of the wheel the compressor turns off, letting the air escape. The light carriages go back up.
{picture of a ferris wheel at the bottom}
Delkin: The air floats back up to the top of the wheel, ready to be compressed again!
{picture of the "Ein < Eout = success!" sign}
Ambrose: Compressing air takes a lot of energy.
Delkin: Yes, it does.
Delkin: So we just make the wheel big enough that the energy gain from the weight of the air is greater than the cost of compressing it.
Delkin: Which is why I'm talking to you, a scientist. I'm just a webcomic... er... character.
Delkin: Instead of a ferris wheel, it could be elevator shaft in a skyscraper, cars going up and down full of gas cylinders.
Delkin: The whole thing could be underground, with shafts going down hundreds of meters.
Delkin: Or underwater, where the escaping air pushes the wheel back up again.
Ambrose: I'll have to think about his some more. I'll get back to you.
Delkin: Cool. I only have three conditions - if it works, I get $2 million, a share of the Nobel prize, and naming rights.
Delkin: I'm thinking the "Delkin" drive!

The author writes:

I'm interested to hear whether you think this might work - want to share a Nobel with me?