Rubber Band Engine

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 Code Number :   4F30.70  



These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.

Condition :   Excellent  
Principle :   Expansion/Contraction   
Area of Study :  Heat & Fluids  
Equipment :   Rubber Band Engine Demo Unit., Coil Heater or Infrared Lamp, Variac, Rubber Bands.

Procedure :   Put new rubber bands on the engine. The shorter the rubber bands used the faster the engine rotation. Balance the wheel using the Tygon tube balancing weights. Place the coil heater next to the wheel and turn it to a dull red heat. This works better than the lamp as it achieves a high temperature, hence faster rotation.  
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Mark I. Liff, "Another Demo of the Unusual Thermal Properties of Rubber", TPT, Vol. 48, # 7, Oct. 2010, p. 444.

J. Jedlicka, "Solid State Solar Engine", TPT, Vol. 10, # 8, Nov. 1972, p. 475.


J.H. Weiner.  "Entropic Versus Kinetic Viewpoints in Rubber Elasticity",  AJP, 55, # 8, August 1987.

J. G. Mullen, George W. Look, John Konkel, "Thermodynamics of a Simple Rubber-Band Heat Engine", AJP, Vol. 43, # 4, Apr. 1975, p. 349.

J. G. Mullen, "On Optimizing an Archibald Rubber-Band Heat Engine", AJP, Vol. 46, # 11, Nov. 1978, p. 1107.


H- 340:  "Rubber Band - Stretch & Engine",  DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.


"Revolving Shaft Without Power", The Boy Scientist, p. 223.

C. L. Stong,  "Some Delightful Engines Driven By the Heating of Rubber Bands",  The Amateur Scientist, April, 1971.

C. L. Strong, "The Amateur Scientist", Scientific American, Vol. 224, # 4, Apr. 1971, p. 118.

Jearl Walker, "4.86, Rubber-Band Thermodynamics", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 215.

Jearl Walker, 3.13, "Heating a Rubber Band", The Flying Circus of Physics with Answers.

"The Laws of Thermodynamics", The Feynman Lectures on Physics, 1963 Edition, Vol. 1, # 44-1.

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