How does a radiometer work, and can we use it?

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Dan Humphreys

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How does a radiometer work, and can we use it?
« on: 13/12/2008 19:40:09 »
Dan Humphreys asked the Naked Scientists:

I understand that the radiometer, which apparently turns solar or heat energy into kinetic energy, has been around for almost two centuries, though seemingly without any useful application of the technology.  What are the principles at work there, and how have they been implemented in the world of science?  Also, could the concept be applied on a larger scale to something like a solar- electric turbine generator?  

I love the show.  

Thanks, from Colorado.

What do you think?

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Offline Bored chemist

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How does a radiometer work, and can we use it?
« Reply #1 on: 14/12/2008 14:00:18 »
We have seen this before.
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=15420.0

The forces involved are tiny so there's no wayto extract any useful energy from it.
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lyner

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How does a radiometer work, and can we use it?
« Reply #2 on: 14/12/2008 16:24:33 »
Except for space probes etc.

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Offline Bored chemist

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How does a radiometer work, and can we use it?
« Reply #3 on: 14/12/2008 20:07:14 »
Different force I think. Radiation pressure doesn't turn radiometers and they only work because they don't contain a vacuum.
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lyner

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How does a radiometer work, and can we use it?
« Reply #4 on: 14/12/2008 21:14:18 »
Of course.

But my sums were based on radiation pressure - classical stuff which still works.