Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel is a really rather clever bit of engineering based on a very simple concept.  It was built to connect two different canals where a series of something like 11 locks were required to join them previously.  It is, very simply put, a boat lift.  The canal is open to the gondolas at the top and the bottom, with the far end sealed off by hydraulic doors.  Once the boat is in place and secured, the hydraulic doors onto the canal are closed and the wheel is free to turn using its electric motor.  The gondolas are balanced, so that there is no strain on the mechanics, purely using the displacement of water.  And the gondolas sit level in the turning arms of the wheel because it sits on wheels in the circular cut outs and the weight of the gondola keeps it sitting level.  It is so clever, and it looks very impressive.  The only way it could be improved?  A bit more speed ;-)

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