Cool Falkirk Wheel Canal Lift

Posted on February 15, 2007  Comments (2)

Falkirk Wheel photo

Falkirk Wheel:

The wheel, which has an overall diameter of 35 metres, consists of two opposing arms which extend 15 metres beyond the central axle, and which take the shape of a Celtic-inspired, double-headed axe. Two sets of these axe-shaped arms are attached about 25 metres apart to a 3.5 metre diameter axle. Two diametrically opposed water-filled caissons, each with a capacity of 80,000 gallons (302 tons), are fitted between the ends of the arms.

These caissons always weigh the same whether or not they are carrying their combined capacity of 600 tonnes of floating canal barges as, according to Archimedes’ principle, floating objects displace their own weight in water, so when the boat enters, the amount of water leaving the caisson has exactly the same as the boat. This keeps the wheel balanced and so, despite its enormous mass, it rotates through 180° in less than four minutes while using very little power. It takes just 22.5 kilowatts (kW) to power the electric motors, which consume just 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy in four minutes, roughly the same as boiling eight kettles of water.

Pretty cool – follow link for more info and larger image. Less cool canal photos: Monocacy Aqueduct in Maryland, USA,here is the aqueduct (in this case, a bridge that is an carries a water for a canal).

2 Responses to “Cool Falkirk Wheel Canal Lift”

  1. CuriousCat: Video of the Falkirk Wheel Canal Lift
    June 4th, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

    3 minute movie of the Video of the Falkirk Wheel Canal Lift.

  2. Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel » Curious Cat Engineering Blog
    April 1st, 2011 @ 8:07 am

    It is a four-lane bridge-tunnel composed of bridges, trestles, man-made islands, and tunnels under a portion of the Hampton Roads harbor…

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