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Water Pumps.

Driven by the electrolysis of water--Absolutely no rotating parts.
  [vote for,

There are two possibilities:


Consider a vertical pipe of, say, 60 feet. The bottom end is immersed in the water to be pumped and has a non return valve close to the base. At a point 25 feet above the base a 3 foot long side arm joins the vertical pipe and then bends up in parallel to the main pipe to a point 28 feet above the base. The side arm is engineered to withstand modest explosive forces. The height of 28 foot is chosen as being less than the 30 foot height of a water barometric leg. The end of this stub is closed off but has a valve at the top to allow gas to be fed in. The main vertical pipe has a non return valve just above the side arm. The assembly is pre-primed with water to a height of 30 feet.

Simple DC electrolysis of an alkaline solution is used to produce hydrogen and oxygen at modest pressure in a stoichiometric 2:1 ratio and in this case will, ideally, be mixed in a closed electrolysis vessel. There is evidence that pressure can be built up without drastically affecting efficiency and there is no pressure component in the Nernst equation. For the purposes of this idea, the pressure will be limited to a very modest one atmosphere.

To start the cycle, the pressurised hydrogen/oxygen mix is fed in to the top of the side arm which will force water up through the top non-return valve. When a suitable volume of gas mixture has been fed in, (this to be determined in practice,) the gas is turned off and the gas mixture in the side arm is ignited with a spark and the instantaneous pressure from the explosion will drive more water up through the top non-return valve. The gases will then cool at the interface with the water and, being water vapour, collapse to something approaching a vacuum which will allow atmospheric pressure to force water up from the bottom via the bottom non-return valve which replacing the water pumped to the top in the first two parts of the cycle. The cycle can now recommence.


This uses only the atmospheric pump part of the above idea.

This must operate below the 28 foot barometric leg for water. A vertical pipe 25 feet long has the bottom immersed in the water to be pumped. At the top there is a 3 foot tube with a weighted piston, this part of the tube being engineered to withstand modest explosive forces. At the bottom of this top tube there is a non-return valve. Pressurised hydrogen/oxygen gas is fed in to the bottom of the top tube raising the piston an amount to be determined. The flow of pressurised gas is cut off and the gas in the tube ignited with a spark which will force the piston upwards a distance to be determined in practice. At the limit of its upward travel, the piston will lock in position and the water vapour resulting from the explosion start to cool and condense causing a near vacuum which will allow atmospheric pressure to force water up from the bottom through the non-return valve. The water thus pumped into the top tube can be drained out at the 25 foot level and the cycle started again.


In my youth many years ago it was a given that the majority of all laboratory explosions involved hydrogen in some form. There are dangers which would have to be overcome with proper design and engineering. Maybe the two component gases could be kept separate until mixed in the reaction vessel. Perhaps any feed tube transporting the mixed gases could be packed with a stainless steel wire wadding that might act like the gauze in the Davy Safety Lamp. Certainly any design should allow any inadvertent explosion to dissipate safely.

The mention of hydrogen and oxygen together tends to lead into the area of fringe science. Please note that I have in mind simple DC electrolysis of alkaline solutions with an efficiency of 50% upwards and note that the power could very conveniently come from solar cells. Needless to say, any genuine advances in electrolysis would be of great benefit to ideas like this.

Imbalances in the oxygen/hydrogen ratio or dissolved gases coming out of solution might result in gases accumulating in the reaction vessel and impairing the vacuum and it may be that regular bleeding might be necessary to remove these, certainly in the first example. The weighted piston should purge away any accumulations in the second. The idea depends on hot gases being cooled by the water being pumped and it may be necessary to route some of the water being sucked into the reaction vessel via spray mechanisms to speed this up.

corvuscornix, Jun 04 2013

http://en.wikipedia.../Water_electrolysis [corvuscornix, Jun 04 2013]

Electrolysis water gun http://sci-toys.com...ys/echem/echem.html
[mitxela, Jun 04 2013]

Hydraulic Ram http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Hydraulic_ram
[spidermother, Jun 09 2013]


       Is there a why?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 04 2013

       Since when have we let that stand in the way of progress?
Alterother, Jun 04 2013

       I would love to see a garden, filled with ponds, one of these standing in each pond as a fountain.
pocmloc, Jun 04 2013

       If the pipe is long enough and the ocean deep enough -- Jupiter type depths -- you could probably have a sustaining "perpetual motion" cycle by having the simple head pressure of the column of water be sufficient to electrolize the water in a chamber at the bottom, vacate the gas and repeat.
theircompetitor, Jun 04 2013

       Static pressure does no work.
pocmloc, Jun 05 2013

       Then, I'm going to change my name to Static Pressure.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 05 2013

       Is it possible to engineer something that uses no moving parts i.e. no valves?
Ling, Jun 05 2013

       //Is there a why?//   

       I think that the idea has good green credentials depending on how the electricity is generated.   

       There could be enormous potential in two parts of the idea:   

       1. Generating gases under pressure by electrolysis and using this for storage has been postulated, but using the pressure to carry out mechanical work? (I liked the 'Electrolysis water gun' reference by mitxela but the health and safety people might not.)   

       2. Historically, the atmospheric engine was very inefficient because of the use of steam but generating the reduced pressure via the hydrogen/oxygen route might prompt another look.
corvuscornix, Jun 05 2013

       //Is it possible to engineer something that uses no moving parts i.e. no valves?//   

       I did refer to 'rotating parts'.   

       The non-return valves in the water column could simply be rubber balls resting by gravity in cups. The gas mixture will certainly have to be fed in to the reaction vessel via some sort of automated valve.
corvuscornix, Jun 05 2013

              //Is it possible to engineer something that uses no moving parts i.e. no valves?//      

       A radio tower has no moving parts intrinsic to its function, yet it must be engineered if it is to stand.
Alterother, Jun 05 2013

       Ok, I must be in the 'literal forum' again... This can be made worse by abbreviated thumb writing on a smartphone.   

       Let's try again:   

       Do you suppose that a water pump which is powered by the rapid combustion of Hydrogen and Oxygen could be engineered so that the pumping is actioned by the shockwave, and hence differences in pressure throughout the system, thereby removing the need for any moving parts?   

       I sincerely hope that this improves my poor ability to communicate.
Ling, Jun 05 2013

       That would depend on whether hot 2(H2O) takes up more room than 2H2 + O2.   

       A flap valve (moving part) would still come in handy, though you could probably manage without one if you had to.
FlyingToaster, Jun 05 2013

       Well a bubble pump doesn't need any moving parts - other than the bubbles.   

       This is actually probably very close to what you're thinking about.
Custardguts, Jun 06 2013

       //That would depend on whether hot 2(H2O) takes up more room than 2H2 + O2.//   

       I don't think the space shuttle got into orbit by fuel pressure.
Ling, Jun 06 2013

       On the no moving parts thing, you could cheat by replacing your check valve with a Tesla valve.
mitxela, Jun 06 2013

       Wow... I never saw the Tesla valve before... and the Tesla museum in Belgrade didn't show anything like that.
Ling, Jun 06 2013

       Call me Huck Finn, but if you want to pump water to a height, why not use that DC electricity to drive a water pump? If you want to pump water using pressurized gas, why not use the DC electricity to drive an air pump pressurizing (and subsequently depressurizing) the side arm of your apparatus?   

       Please do not interpret this as criticism of the blowing up of hydrogen and oxygen, which I consider a pink-dyed peacock feather in the cap of any scheme.   

       wait - I see. The goal is no moving parts. Because such a pump could operate indefinitely (given impervious electrolysis electrodes). And now, as sometimes happens, I understand Ling after several minutes of thought. A valve is a moving part that can wear out.   

       As designed the valve is necessary because there is a column of water at the start. Without the valve the column would descend into the lake surface. I do not understand why there needs to be a tall pipe. The whole thing should be subsurface. The electrolysis tube generates gas which accumulates in the top of its arm. On exploding water is forced up out of the top of the main pipe. It goes up and over a U bend and collects in a reservoir and so cannot come back down.   

       The electrolysis tube will refill with water from the main tube. The main tube has a small hole at the bottom from which it refills. The hole is small to limit the amount of water which is blown downwards into the lake.   

       If greater heights are desired, repeat above process but now centered above in the reservoir fed by the Ubend.
bungston, Jun 06 2013

       Check out a better "small hole" by Googling "Tesla valve". It's really neat.   

       That, and your simple tube idea with a small mod, make an electrolysis pump which works in 2 steps:   

       1. Use dc to generate H and O in an "n" shaped part of the tube (trapped gas).
2. Step up the dc voltage until it arcs and ignites the gases. The Tesla valve at one end of the tube resists flow in that direction. The other end of the tube is open.
Ling, Jun 07 2013

       //wait - I see. The goal is no moving parts//   

       I feel that the 'moving parts' have become a diversion. In general the simpler a device the better especially if you want to deploy it in remote desert locations for example. It wasn't the main goal but I saw it as an advantage.   

       //Call me Huck Finn, but if you want to pump water to a height, why not use that DC electricity to drive a water pump?//   

       Fair point. The electrolytic generation of gases under pressure seems to be acknowledged but not, as far as I can see, applied. It seems to come almost for nothing. In this unknown (to me) field I chose a modest 1 atmosphere as an example, but why not 10 or even 100 atmospheres to pump 300 or 3000 feet? DC electric pumps may find this difficult. The pumping of water to a high level has application in pumped storage hydro-electric systems and while you are at it, consider sea cliffs and sea water for this, (but not electrolysing the sea water.).   

       For me the part with the most potential is the atmospheric. Explode 1 volume of H2/O2 and drive a light piston up. The result is instantaneous water vapour at 2800 degrees C but cooling rapidly, (and you could recover some of this heat.) How far up will the piston go before it stops rising and you can lock it in position? To a height where 5 or 10 volumes are contained by it does not seem unreasonable. After the water vapour is condensed the reduced pressure will lift water 28 feet and 5 or 10 volumes of water lifted 28 feet by 1 volume of H2/O2 may be a reasonable return.   

       There could be some agreeable surprises in efficiency available and if the 'Hydrogen Economy' comes . . .
corvuscornix, Jun 07 2013

       Noise pollution? Doesn't this have the same problem as the "Hydrogen Economy" in that it takes more energy to produce the hydrogen than you can get out of it?
AwarmRay, Jun 07 2013

       A hydraulic ram (link) could probably be powered by electrolysis/combustion cycles. In effect, the water in the low-pressure tube would act like your piston.
spidermother, Jun 09 2013


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