The Science of Energy in the Gym
- An exercise bike with a fancy energy readout in Calories or Watts.
- A person like Dave, who knows how much energy appliances use
- A person like Ali, who will do anything in the name of science
Ali had a go at powering a couple of small lights using a small hand cranked generator. When both lights were off turning the handle was easy, when the 5W bulb was turned on it got a bit harder and when the 10W bulb was turned on it got significantly more difficult.
Considering a conventional light bulb uses 60-100W of power Ali wasn't doing very well so we decided to try using the biggest muscles in Ali's body - her legs.
We found a gym with an exercise bike with a power rating built in. When Ali worked quite hard on the exercise bike she generated around 150 Watts, enough to power a decent sized television. When Ali works really hard, she generates 280 Watts, enough to power a computer without a monitor. Unfortunately she's not fit enough to keep that pace up for long.
If you move a magnet near a coil of wire, you will push the electrons back and forth. If there is somewhere for them to you they will flow producing an electric current.
|Here you can see Ali moving a strong magnet in and out of a coil of wire. This makes a current in the wire which you can see on the meter.|