Dear Folks from Newton North (and anyone else who may be interested),
I received the e-mail below from Bob Goldstein last night. So, with reference to the various possible ideas for Mission Possible, here goes:
For mechanical to electromagnetic you suggest:
1. Glow stick - NOPE - that's a chemical reaction. You must break the glow stick to mix two chemicals that then react to produce light. So even if you hit the stick with a hammer (mechanical), that transfer is then to chemical, then chemical to electromagnetic.
2. A match striking a file - NOPE - basically the same problem - it's still chemical! The match strikes the file (mechanical). The energy (friction) that you put into the system lowers the activation energy, which allows the match to burn (combustion is chemical), which emits both heat and light.
4. Piezoelectric crystals - NOPE - The bending of the crystal produces the electrical potential, so this one is mechanical to electrical.
5. Magnet moved in a coil lights LED - NOPE - Your moving magnet may be mechanical, BUT what it is doing is inducing a current in the coil (electrical) and that current lights the LED, thus it's electrical to electromagnetic, not mechanical to electromagnetic.
Can I tell you that you are making this one much harder than it needs to be?
Now for the next group, thermal to electric:
1. heating a vacuum tube - NOPE - I'm not entirely sure how you see this working either, but to the extent that it does anything, what you are doing is causing electrons to move faster, which makes it easier for them to be induced to jump from cathode to anode, but if you don't have a large electical field between the cathode and anode, they won't make the jump. You are not creating electricity!
2. thermal coupler - YES! - Well, almost - I think what you mean is a thermocouple, a device made by joining wires of two dissimilar metals and inducing a current to flow through the wire by subjecting the junction to heat. That would do nicely!
3. two dissimilar metal plates heated - NOPE - I think that what you are describing here is a bimetalic strip such as is used in many thermostats.
Assuming that's what you mean, thermal changes to mechanical (the coil bends) which may then result in electrical contact such as occurs in a thermostat.
I hope this helps. Good luck!