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Colliding Highly Laminar Water Jets for Crop Irrigation

Irrigate crops by the tightly controlled collision of two highly laminar (non-turbulent) water jets
  [vote for,

To avoid the expense and hassle and plant disturbance of the irrigation methods typically used for crops, one could use a computer controlled device to aim two highly laminar water jets so that they collide over the area to be watered. The directions of the jets would be continuously varied to adjust their collision position, so that the proper amount of water is applied to each portion of the field. The controller would determine the correct amount of time for the collision point to remain over each position based on a formula which determines how the resultant splattering water will disperse over the area. The result would be a precisely controlled dispersal of water on the crop.
It has been proven by famous "musical fountains", such as at the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, that water flow can be made so laminar that it can travel in a smooth stream for distances of 500 feet (150 m).
The total area that such a system can irrigate from a given spot will be determined by such things as the useful distance a jet of water can be made to flow and how far apart the origins of the two jets are.

Added later:
It might be better to have one stream above the other rather than side by side. This would increase the horizontal spread and reduce the likelihood of large globs of water falling from the collision position and damaging plants.
Alvin, Nov 12 2011

Aerial Imagery System http://westernfarmp...-system-saves-water
Article about an aerial imagery system for crop irrigation optimization [Alvin, Nov 16 2011]


       This would mean that the water rains gently down from the colliding stream, rather than hitting the plan with the full force of the stream. I like that.   

       I was under the impression that those musical fountains used water that was doped with polymer, to facilitate the laminar flow. But that would be a lot of polymer at the Bellagio so maybe not.   

       I think this would be less applicable to corn fields, just because of the expense and need to move the apparatus from field to field. But this would be great for a xeriscape or some other garden endeavor where there might be interested onlookers.
bungston, Nov 12 2011


       [bungston] why limit it to a xeriscape ? It'd look great as a bifocal lawn sprinkler. Wind'd mess it up somewhat.
FlyingToaster, Nov 12 2011

       (Considers adopting the expression //that would be a lot of polymer at the Bellagio// for solutions that are technically feasible, but quantitatively impractical.)
spidermother, Nov 12 2011

       hmmm, I would light them up at night for a curved laser collision fireworks display.   

       This is brilliant!
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 13 2011

       With a bit of targeting control it might also be good for non lethal protection of crops from flying pests such as starlings or fruit bats.
AusCan531, Nov 13 2011

       And perfect for extinguishing a smoker's cigarette from a distance.
swimswim, Nov 13 2011

Maybe you were thinking of how they prepare water for water jet cutters. There's no mention of polymers in wikipedia's "Water cutter" article, but I clearly recall from an article years ago, that polymers were added to keep the flow laminar.
Alvin, Nov 13 2011

       Polymers are used to increase the cohesiveness, hence the distance achievable, of the laminar flows. Ordinary water laminar flow jets into swimming pools, for example, are only good for 3m/10ft or so before they break up. [Bungston] is quite right that laminar jets like those at The Bellagio would have to have polymers added. From my playing with such polymers you need amazingly low doses, in percentage terms, of polymer to water.   

       Polymers are sometimes added to the water when firefighters need to increase the throw distance of water cannons used to fight fires in high rise buildings. They are also added to water bombers to increase the viscosity of the water so it lingers longer on vegetation ahead of the fire front.   

       Cumulative buildup in the fields would still be an issue as, unlike decorative fountains, there is no scope for recycling/reuse of the polymer. Perhaps a low-cost, vegetation-based starch which added nutrients to the crop would fill the bill. (Go ahead, someone say "custard"!)
AusCan531, Nov 13 2011

Voice, Nov 13 2011

       Brilliant. Thank you for sharing.
white, Nov 14 2011

       Patent this idea.
Alterother, Nov 14 2011

       My brother and I invented this as kids when we would pee at the same time.
rcarty, Nov 16 2011

       I think maybe it could be simplified by aiming two adjustable sized jets at each other, so the larger one tends to throw the water to one side, and make the impact point along a straight line between two points so that the nozzles sweep only in a synchronised semi- circle.
Ling, Nov 16 2011

       [rcarty], never cross the streams!
theleopard, Nov 16 2011

       Alternately, you could use the water jets to drown a person in a crowd. (You can call them Btfsplk guns.)
ldischler, Nov 16 2011

       One advantage that perhaps isn't so obvious, is that this could water areas of arbitrary shape rather than being restricted to circles like center pivot irrigation.
It would also allow control of the amount applied to each portion of a field based on dryness information from an aerial imagery system (see link), resulting in more optimal water usage.
Alvin, Nov 16 2011

       //[rcarty], never cross the streams!//
You can, when you know the time is right. ("I have a dream", ABBA)
TolpuddleSartre, Nov 18 2011


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