Tom Vales Talk

Picture of a similar power piston plug to the one Tom showed the class Source; Google Images

From learning about various types of functions within the VI and NXT labs that we have been doing in class Tom Vales from Suffolk came into the class for an introduction and talk about different types of various engines and machines. All of the machines shown had simple functions and could be assembled right in class, as he did for us. The first was a stirling engine that is 80% effective and runs from the bottom of the machine though heat. Tom placed his stirling engine on top of a 7.2°F (4°C) warm cup of water and the heat that rose and was trapped in the cup and under the piston created heat and a working machine. Tom had explained how this was used to pump water as well and is about 200 years old. From 200 years until now the stirling engine is still the same today.

Stirling engine


He also showed us the Peltier Junction from the 1800’s which was created by John Peltier. This is metal and copper and generates an electric current. It uses a thermoelectric effect to produce cold temperatures. Along with that was the Mendocino motor which I found very interesting because it floats on its own magnetic field. It has 4 solar cell magnets that generate the power for it to levitate. This own magnetic field that the Mendocino motor converts light into electricity. This was informed to the class as the DC motor theory. Which is the input of the motor/voltage and its output speed.

Mendocino motor

Overall, Tom Vales taught the class and myself a great deal about different types of engines and motors with many varieties of ways they are powered. His free spirited attitude and awesome tie die T-shirt made my day. He was a great guy to meet and the trip to his office with the many gadgets was very interesting.

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