The world will shortly celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of a great and naturally gifted scientist – James Joule. Why is that relevant to our perimeter security systems? Primarily, because all those involved with electronic and engineering design owe him a debt of gratitude. Secondly, because we have a few interesting things in common with Mr. Joule!
Essentially, James Joule was fascinated by energy and its ability to bring about change. Heat and electrical energy were two of the primary forms of energy that he studied and our work in the design and manufacture of perimeter security systems is closely linked to these. A good example is our electric security fence because it uses electrical energy and can use the sun’s heat energy as a power source.
So the life of a man who developed the first law of thermodynamics holds a natural interest for our R&D boffins!
James Joule – Heat & Electrical Energy
Joule was born in Lancashire, England on Christmas Eve 1818 and was the son of a brewer. As a young boy he had a natural fascination for electricity; he and his brother would sometimes even do experiments giving electric shocks to each other – and their family’s servants! Science was a passion for James. As an adult, it was really just a hobby because his job was to manage the family brewery. It was the brewery, however, which allowed him to develop his interest in science more seriously, especially in researching electrical and heat energy.
In the brewery’s laboratory, he made many studies and began his own experiments. In his early 20’s he looked at the idea of installing the recently invented, electric motor to replace the brewery’s steam engines.
His main research was studying the relationship between heat and electricity and the relationship of heat to mechanical work. This led to the development of the law of conservation of energy and eventually what Joule became most famous for – the first law of thermodynamics.
Perimeter Security Systems – The Joule Connection
They say that one way of recognising a person’s achievements is to have something named after them. In the case of James Joule, his success as a scientist is reflected by the word ‘joule’ being part of today’s scientific vocabulary. A ‘joule’ refers to the measure of “the energy dissipated as heat when an electric current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second” (courtesy of Wikipedia).
There are of course some easier ways of describing the meaning of a ‘joule’:
- A keen gardener might prefer this example: 1 joule is the approximate amount of energy required to lift a medium-sized tomato 1 meter vertically from the ground.
- A sports fan might relate to this example: 1 joule is the approximate amount of kinetic energy of a 56g tennis ball moving at 22km per hour.
In terms of our perimeter security products, the power of our Electro-Fence™ electric security fence is actually measured in joules.
One last, and less technically scientific connection that with have with the approaching 200th anniversary of the birth of James Joule is …. Scotland. Our Head Office and manufacturing base is in Stirling and our company is registered in Scotland. Amongst the many honours bestowed on James Joule, he enjoyed Honorary Membership of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. It was founded over 150 years ago and is the fourth oldest, still-active registered company in Scotland.