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Product: Pump
String pump   (+8, -2)  [vote for, against]
Doesn't pump string

But it uses string to pick up the fluid from one location and deliver it elsewhere.

The string is pulled continuously from a reel of clean string into a tube. The tube directs the string into the liquid. The liquid soaks into or coats the string. The string is pulled up another tube. The used string is reeled on a tension drum, equipped with an accurate rotation speed control.

The reeling drum could be electrically, hydraulically or pneumatically driven. The string could be adapted to the medium to be pumped. You'd use very rough and hairy string, a strap or a chain for a stcky or two-pase gunge, tar or slurry. You'd use very smooth and fine string/ hair for very slow removal flows, low viscosity liquids and very fine tubes.

Another variant would be for the string to pass through a squeegee or pinch rollers to extract the liquid, then it could just be fed around in one continuous loop like a bicycle chain, or be reeled into a cassette for re-use for as many times as the string could withstand.

The tubes could be bent round corners, but there will be a limit to the length conveyed set by the tensile strength of the string when wet.
-- bhumphrys, Feb 28 2008

Take your pick
[Ling, Feb 29 2008]

I like this. I'm not convinced it's useful, but I do like the idea.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2008

And. In what circumstances would you consider this device to be useful?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2008

There's a looped-chain pump with balls on the chain. Or rope with washers or even boards. Some of those run through a narrow funnel, some through a constant-width trough.

I think you you'd want a squeezer at the bottom in some cases, to get the fuzzies ready to absorb--like squeezing a sponge to soak up water.

This would be handy in a lot of simple engines, to move oil up from the bottom into the moving parts.
-- baconbrain, Feb 29 2008

Yes... Can we have an example of how this would be applied. How would an oily string lubricate crank bearings?
-- WcW, Feb 29 2008

This is exactly how some oil skimmers work (they remove oil which is floating on water).
-- Ling, Feb 29 2008

Who cares how this would be applied? That would imply it was _practical_. +
-- moomintroll, Feb 29 2008

Practically, this would work in a small engine. I used to modify single-piston engines that had just a splash system to lubricate the inside of the crankcase. There was a pool of oil at the bottom, and a metal finger attached to the crankshaft balance that splashed and flung oil as it went around. There was an open hole wherever oil needed to get in.

A string could loop over the crankshaft, and run through a guide down in the pool of oil. It'd carry oil up to the crankshaft, where it'd squish off, and centrifuge out to a flinger.
-- baconbrain, Feb 29 2008

string is common in some devices to transport (light) oil from a reservoir to bearings.
-- FlyingToaster, Feb 29 2008

Guys, thank you I am stunned. I didn't actually conceive of any real world application. The only positive advantage I saw was that it could potentially actually dry something automatically rather than just empty it. Shame that the fundamental concept seems as baked as a Carr's Water Biscuit, but I may not delete the post since [Ling]'s Google link is very educational.
-- bhumphrys, Feb 29 2008

I can think of a million ways to make it more efficient, and no ways to make it less efficient.

Oh, wait a second, how about powering your drum with a rubber-band heat engine and degreasing your underwater string-sprocket before each use too! Maybe your high candle power heat source could be powered by the local gym that has rusty treadmills that work in reverse so that business is very poor there. Maybe the circuit between the treadmill-generator and the spotlight could be impeded by high ohmage resistance. Mwahahaha!
-- quantum_flux, Mar 01 2008

Actually, the rubber band comment gives me an idea: If the rubber band is stretched it has a larger surface area. So by looping the rubber band around two wheels, it can be made to stretch one one side, and then contract on the other. When it contracts, it dumps some of the fluid which has attached to the surface.
-- Ling, Mar 01 2008

Thank you [Quantum]; Do you think, perhaps, if we used a cosmic string, we could perhaps pump out the whole universe, until there is nothing left?
-- bhumphrys, Mar 01 2008

Something like this could be used for a well where the rocky bottom was just moist, but without standing water. There would be much slack in the string, such that it laid in a pile on the bottom for a while before rolling back up to deliver the moisture. Which would carry with it the fragrance of jute, nuanced by mildew and silicon grease.

One might also use such an apparatus to collect atmospheric moisture - a fog pump. You would want large surface areas. As the fog ropes reeled in, you would want it to be at a downward angle such that accumulated moisture would run down the rope ahead of it and collect at the bottom. I propose that a fog farm in the Western Sahara could be associated with a series of greenhouses and be a real money maker.
-- bungston, Mar 01 2008

// Do you think, perhaps, if we used a cosmic string, we could perhaps pump out the whole universe, until there is nothing left? \\

That could take a while.
-- quantum_flux, Mar 02 2008

random, halfbakery