Coupled Motors as Educational Models

A few days ago some friends asked me to help them with medical biochemistry. I obliged. On the topic of Biological Oxidation, they were having difficulty in grasping the concept of ATP Synthetase and how it generates energy (ATP). Basically ATP Synthetase is a molecular motor that is present in our dear cute mitochondria, when a force (H+ ions) rotates this motor, ATP is generated. ATP Synthetase is the smallest molecular rotary motor known.

You can see ATP Synthetase as a dynamo on your bicycle. When you pedal and the wheel rotates, the dynamo generates energy to light up the lamp.

I thought about making a model to help them understand. Googled but to no avail. Then to help them understand the concept I made this little widget. (Video is here)

I just want to leave this idea here as a potential project for someone or as a teaching aid. I hope it helps you. This can be used to demonstrate a lot of things; Like power generation by electric companies, back motor effect, Lenz law, turbines, ATP synthetase. Improvise!

Step 1: Ingredients

Coupled Motors as Educational Models

For making this widget you need:

  • Power Source
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • LED
  • 2 Motors

    Step 2: How to make it..

    Coupled Motors as Educational Models
  • Take 2 DC motors. Identical are better but not necessary. Just make sure that their gearheads can fit with each other and rotate as a couple.
  • Connect the 1st motor with a power supply. This can be a battery, adapter etc. I used a USB cable and connected the motor with a usb phone charger. Turn on the motor to check.
  • Now run the 1st motor and take the second motor and lock their gearheads together. If the motor keeps stopping. Add a little drop of oil to facilitate the process.
  • Check to see if the 1st motor can rotate the gearhead of the 2nd one. If it doesn't you need to get a new motor.
  • Now take your LED and connect it to the wires of the second motor. The anode/long leg (+) of LED goes to the red wire and the cathode/short leg (-) goes to the black wire.
  • Run the motor, lock the gearheads together and the led will light up.

    Step 3: Demo

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