Can we build motors that convert static electricity into kinetic energy and use no metal in their construction?

Background Info: I ask this question because I am interested in what electrical technology a society without easy access to metal or metal trade routes could theoretically develop. For example, some Native American tribes. I heard we can produce static electricity without metal so I chose that as the power source for the motor.

Research: Apparently, electrostatic motors that use metal can reach energy efficiencies of at least 60%.

http://rexresearch.com/jefimenko/jefimenkoesmotors.pdf (mentioned on page 112)

An electrostatic motor of similar volume that doesn't use metal would likely have a lower efficiency.

That question was closed due to unclear what I am asking. How can I improve it?

Also, explanations for down votes would be appreciated. I may be able to edit the question from the feedback.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Ditch it and start over. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Sep 17 '16 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop But I want to know the answer to the question... \$\endgroup\$ – roobee Sep 18 '16 at 5:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you provide a link to the question? Was it deleted? \$\endgroup\$ – Tut Sep 19 '16 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tut Yes it was deleted. I've reposted it on the physics site, although I may edit it using feedback I get from here. Here is the link: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/280945/… \$\endgroup\$ – roobee Sep 19 '16 at 21:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see that physics didn't care for this, either. You might try the "worldbuilding" stack exchange. I have no experience there, or interest in going there, but from what I see in the "hot network questions" list, they seem to specialize in these sorts of "what if" questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 22 '16 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman Worldbuilding! Were you serious? It really made me laugh. \$\endgroup\$ – dim Sep 23 '16 at 9:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dim, that or noplace. The stack will be more receptive to questions like this, and might help develop the question for prime ime \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 23 '16 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dim -- I was right, but after the fact! worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/45175/… \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 23 '16 at 12:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman I'm stunned. Well, it's good to know. If engineers and scientists don't want to answer your question, no problem: ask the scriptwriters. \$\endgroup\$ – dim Sep 23 '16 at 12:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can get to 20 reputation points, you could talk about this in the chat area. There is research in electrostatics and some of the research involves building machines. However, I doubt anyone is looking at what might be done with no metal and no advanced technology. It seems both futile and pointless. \$\endgroup\$ – Charles Cowie Sep 24 '16 at 18:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd reckon the downvotes are due to a lack of understanding of the basic premises of electrical physics. \$\endgroup\$ – user86234 Sep 26 '16 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tuskiomi So does that mean the device I proposed does not exits? Or that I need to do more research? \$\endgroup\$ – roobee Sep 26 '16 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CharlesCowie So if I did not have the no metal requirement, do you think the question would have been well received? \$\endgroup\$ – roobee Sep 26 '16 at 23:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ A question about the feasibility of an electrical machine that is very different from commonly used electrical machines is too general. Good answers would need to be heavily based on opinion, lengthly and complicated, and thus not good for this format. If you studied the characteristics of an existing machine and asked a question about some aspect of that with reference to your source, that would be ok. \$\endgroup\$ – Charles Cowie Sep 27 '16 at 1:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your latest edit is turning this question into something off-topic here on meta. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans Sep 27 '16 at 2:21

The question shows no evidence of your research, has no context on why this is even a problem worth solving, and reads rather like a demand that we invent a perpetual motion machine for you.

If a question can't be clearly answered in a couple of paragraphs, you're asking it in the wrong place. Good answers might be longer, but you shouldn't be anticipating your question to generate more discussion in order to identify the answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What made the question sound like it wanted a perpetual motion machine? Do you believe editing the question could make the answer within a couple of paragraphs? If so, how? If not, would the right place to ask it be another Stack Exchange website or a non-Stack Exchange website like a forum site? \$\endgroup\$ – roobee Sep 20 '16 at 2:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ You missed the point. Presumably you accept that a perpetual motion machine is impossible, but something that lots of inexperienced people want to believe in. Your question seems to be in the same class of questions, asking (without justification) for something that doesn't exist. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Houlihane Sep 20 '16 at 7:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't edit your question to make it useful, it is a non-question with zero content. Maybe it is an XY question, you think you have a solution to something you refuse to disclose, but you've made an incorrect assumption and the best solution is something different. Is this a bio-compatible micro motor to use in a drug dispensing pill? Who knows. It probably belongs on a teach yourself basic science forum, or a wacky inventors forum - at least that is my interpretation of your original question and your insistence that we fix it. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Houlihane Sep 20 '16 at 7:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ You added some context above, but in my view that doesn't help your case. Metals are so fundamental to society (as is cheap energy) that I'm not interested in anyone who wants to hypothesise about avoiding them by choice. If you rule out metal, do you also rule out drugs, plastic, etc? Again, it somes back to 'why? where did this design constraint originate, because I don't believe its real'. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Houlihane Sep 20 '16 at 7:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ asking (without justification) for something that doesn't exist. I am fine if it doesn't exist. My question is asking whether such a device exists. If I asked how to make a perpetual motion machine, people could merely answer it doesn't exist because of the conservation of energy. So, do you believe the device I asked for does not exist? Yes, I rule out drugs, plastic, etc. I've edited my question to further explain the design constraint of no metals. \$\endgroup\$ – roobee Sep 21 '16 at 3:56

If you'd like an answer, do your research, show us where you got stuck in your research, and ask specific questions.


Don't put too much stock in the exact close reason. The system only has a few canned close reasons. It is possible to chose "other" and then write your own reason, but that's not worth the bother in most cases.

We get too many bad questions here. They are a distraction to what people really came here for, they dissipate volunteer energy, and increase the frustration level. Sometimes we just click on the nearest handy close reason, especially for particularly bad questions. We don't want to waste our time and noise up the site going back and forth with some moron that can't be bothered to follow the rules. Someone that writes a particularly bad question is probably never going to be a net positive on this site, or take way too much diapering and burping to get there if they ever do.

Getting your question closed (or the new PC "put on hold", same thing) quickly and without comment really means:

"This question is crap. It's so blatantly bad that it's clear you haven't even bothered to read the rules. We therefore deem you a waste of time to engage with. By not telling you anything more, we hope your experience here is unpleasant enough so that you go away and stay away. So run along, git, scram, and leave us alone."


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