Cool Engineering – The Falkirk Wheel

2 06 2007

One of the coolest feats of engineering I have ever seen. A quick browse of the wiki entry reveals that the wheel is used to link two canals in Scotland, the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The only problem is that the union canal is 24m higher than the Forth and Clyde Canal. So engineers designed this marvel as a boat lift to link the canals by raising/lowering boats between the different canal heights. The canals were previously linked about a 100 years back by a series of 11 locks, but over the years they fell into disrepair and were filled in. For the Millennium, the government decided to reopen the link as part of a larger scheme to connect Glasgow and Edinburgh via various canals in Scotland as a tourist attraction.

One of the cool historical notes about this is that the Canal link actually traverses the Antonine Wall, for those fascinated by Roman history. Total cost of the project was 84 million pounds. But, it looks like its worth every penny. The really cool part is that to drive the 35m diameter wheels it only needs 1.5kwhr of power, which is probably about what your A/C consumes in an hour or so. And it completes a boat lift in about 4 minutes. Check out the video below:

More information on the wheel is available @ Wiki here. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit in the UK.

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One response

15 01 2008
WedSpips

hmmmm…very interesting!
Thanks google

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