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Escher's wick

A wick with stepped capacity
(+4, -4)
  [vote for,

Water will climb a wick but only to certain height. What if the water, in the top of the wick, was then induced to pool allowing it to be wicked up another step?

The water would have to move horizontally at the top. A wick weave or material change would allow a droplet to overcome adhesion and release the droplet into the next wick's pooling vessel. A release of a droplet would dry out the top of the wick allow more water to move up.

The overall construct would be a ladder of stepped r shaped wicks (umbrella shaped in 3D) each sitting in a pooling vessel.

wjt, Aug 01 2010



       I already posted this under the name 'sponge pump' and it was fairly squished. Something to do with surface tension cancelling out the waters ability to leave the wicking device.   

       You can race me and [xenzag] if you don't mind leaving the gate a bit late.
<place smiley face here>

       Apparently the name has been changed to 'Sponge Pump cubed'.
It's like spongebob square pants in 3d.

       You want to leave the theater,
but it's so bad that you just can't look away.

       The world's science education is in shambles.
WcW, Aug 02 2010

       how do you 'induce the water to pool' ?
FlyingToaster, Aug 02 2010

       That would be a perpetual motion machine. Hence, impossible.
AntiQuark, Aug 02 2010

       I don't think these are necessarily perpetual motion machines. The stored internal energy is in the form of the capillarity of the wick which will not last forever.
daseva, Aug 02 2010

       //The world's science education is in shambles//

       I think your methodology is a bit flawed if you're using data gathered from halfbakery.com to reach that conclusion.
rcarty, Aug 02 2010

       As mentioned on 2fries's earlier idea, this won't work.   

       Consider the piece of wick which is just before the tip (rightmost end) of your "r". You're asking this wick to suck up water from the stem of the "r" in preference to sucking up water from the supposed pool immediately to its right.   

       In fact, if I described a "wick-based siphon" in which a similar arrangement was used to carry water *from* a higher pool to a lower one, it would be basically this.   

       [daseva] points out that the "stored internal energy is in the form of the capillarity of the wick", which is another way of looking at it. The energy to lift the water comes from the decrease in surface energy of the wicking material as it is covered with water. Once the available surface of the wick (including its interpiliary spaces) is saturated, there's nothing driving anything.   

       (The "energy" got there in the first place by making the wick, which, for example, may have been done by pulling apart some fibrous material, or by using heat to remove the water from some natural wicky stuff.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 02 2010

       Sorry, My delusion is, water is in constant brownian motion and given the correctly scaled path structure, water can be led anywhere.   

       The weave at the top of the wick would include a more hydrophobic strand mix to start drip cluster formation. A tiny incline, greater weave gap and more hydrophobic fibres may be just enough to overcome that adhesion stall problem. The goal is to get a cohesive cluster of water molecules large enough to beat wick fibre adhesive forces. A very fine balance game.   

       This would be very very slow, if it could be engineered. Max's syphon wick would be a lot faster because drips could build up speed because of more allowable height drop.   

       climb drip climb :-)
wjt, Aug 03 2010

       The lead path, in this case in the wick tip, has a slight probability of fail. The fail is what is wanted, it leads to the drip.   

       I want the random motion to get the molecules to leave the path.
wjt, Aug 03 2010

       Hire Maxwell's Demon, then.
daseva, Aug 03 2010

       I don't have the correct handcuffs if the contract goes sour.
wjt, Aug 03 2010

       //Hire Maxwell's Demon, then.//   

       He's pre-occupied with moles.   

       You've agreed that my "wick siphon" would work better than your "wick lifter". Since they're both the same structure, this is equivalent to saying that your device will tend to move water down, not up, which is indeed the case.   

       Interesting discussion, but [-] for bad science.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 03 2010

       I read about the Sequoia that it uses some kind of "stepping" system like this, but cannot find the article. [Edited:] Sorry, found it. It simply takes from the fog, because it cannot use the capillary action.   

       The main force in the trees comes from the evaporation. See my research in wikipedia on [Capillary action] (I added the section on trees and two refs.   

       Anyway, you'll have to find a way to remove the water from the capillary tube into your pool. Perhaps by joining them in a downward loop at the top, would bring the water together, creating droplets that would pull down together exiting the tube as liquid water drops. Its easy to try it out.
pashute, Jun 17 2013

       You can bend physics, but you can't break it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 17 2013

       The water HAS been pulled up, so its there without breaking any laws of energy. Its means that the capillary internals had potential (molecular force) energy waiting to be exploited. Now that the water is up there, you need only the energy to a. block the tube till the loop downward, and b. remove some of the water in the small tube leaning towards the pool, which is now in any case being assisted by gravity.   

       Similar to rain, gathering the water together can cause enough pull to release them from the tube.   

       Then again, there must be somewhere where the extra energy is coming from, since there will now be water with potential energy that it hadn't had before. [Sigh] Maxwell and Flying, and AntiQuark, and especially rcarty are as usual correct.
pashute, Jun 17 2013

       Yup, the source of energy is surface tension (and some stuff with the surface of the capillary), and that same surface tension prevents the deposition of the liquid at the top end.
MechE, Jun 17 2013

       It's more useful, in this context, to think of surface energy rather than surface tension.   

       Surfaces (any interfaces between different materials) have an energy associated with them. When you break something, some of the energy you use in the breaking is needed to create the new surface. Wetting happens because the surface energy of the new liquid-solid interface is less than of the liquid-air plus solid-air interfaces.   

       The increase in the potential energy of the wicked liquid is offset by the decrease in surface energy of the wetted wick. You can only restore the wick by removing the water and thereby putting back its wick-air surface energy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 17 2013

       Max, re: your earlier anno: would a wick-based siphon work ?
FlyingToaster, Jun 17 2013

       As a means of lowering liquid? Interesting question. Instinct says yes.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 17 2013

       so probably not then. I found some references to siphon wicks used in gardening, both high>low and low>high.
FlyingToaster, Jun 17 2013

       So long as the water is removed at the top and the attraction between water molecules isn't over forced. The water should at as a chain. The environment field would have to be as neutral as possible. Possibly like electrons and superconducting materials. Put it another way - does water act like a magnet to itself over a small distance and thus beat gravity?
wjt, Jun 23 2013

       People, this isn't difficult. Water wets wicks. If you evaporate the water from one end, more will soak in, working against gravity to an extent which depends on the wickiness (capillarity) of the wick.   

       The essential physical principals at work here can be illustrated by standing in socks in a shallow puddle on a warm dry day.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 23 2013

       Would these be school principals?
xenzag, Jun 23 2013

       Als, Les, I always get those confused.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 23 2013

       pals are always people....
xenzag, Jun 23 2013

       Yeah, but Al and Les are both people. It's not so easy to put into practise, unless you're a licenced grammarian.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 23 2013

       To save face, designing a fully dimensioned environment field is probably a few Eurekas off. What probably can be done now is a photomechanic material that gives energy at the top of each step to break adhesion.
wjt, Jun 24 2013

       // It's not so easy to put into practise// Practise brings prefects.
xenzag, Jun 24 2013


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