A Click Mechanism

In the search for organisms that are able to convert kinetic or mechanical energy into chemical energy (kinetitrophic autotrophic organsms), we should consider the possible need for some sort of click mechanism.

A click mechanism stores kinetic energy (or mechanical energy) as potential energy.  A common ink pen has a click mechanism.


Take the pen apart–there is a spring around the ink reservoir, and a cylinder with projections that go inside the barrel of the pen.  There are notched grooves in the barrel.


When the pen is retracted, the spring is at its lowest energy position, and the projections fit into the grooves.


When the pen is extended, the internal cylinder rotates so that the projections catch in the notches and not in the grooves.  The spring is compressed, so it is at its highest energy position.

This simple click mechanism traps the energy present in the spring into a form of potential energy.

A lot of devices we use routinely have click mechanisms.  We use clamps, jacks (picture the old bumper jacks that cars had in the 1970s and earlier) and ratchet socket wrenches.

A kinetitrophic organism must be able to trap the energy of motion some way.  A click mechanism seems to be one thing we could look for in our search.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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