Thanks, Chuckles, for this one.
WUWT runs the post by Willis Eschenbach and its a good look at this engineering phenomenon. It’s always a good read with Willis.
More photos and a good comments section over at WUWT.
The wheel rotates to move boats up and down, in lieu of a system of locks, to overcome the difference in height between two canals above and below. When you’ve been moved up from the bottom to the top, you are looking out along an elevated waterway that you can see [in the last pic]:
The engineering on the Falkirk Wheel is so well-balanced that it only takes about the amount of energy needed to toast three slices of toast to rotate the wheel by a half turn, boats, water and all … it’s all computer controlled, and if the water levels in the two chambers are different by more than 75 mm (3″), the whole thing stops.
As with many of you, I adore good engineering and in a vastly more minor way, my current feat is now in the building phase and then will come the proving phase – will it sink, will it float, will it move at all? Will it resemble a bathtub or poetry in motion? Will it fall apart, having been built of matchsticks and chewing gum? Will the authorities be impressed?
Call it what you will – the Falkirk Wheel is a special piece of engineering. Arty farty? Unnecessary? Maybe but I think not – it’s one of the engineering masterpieces of this land.