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Renewable Energy Discussion on various alternative energy, renewable energy, & free energy technologies. Also any discussion about the environment, global warming, and other related topics are welcome here.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-11-2008, 05:21 AM
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Aaron Aaron is online now
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"Perpetual Motion" with Water

A neat fun idea

Physics: - - - - Gravity Powered, Liquid Surface Tension Engine.





In a sealed container of liquid, a capillary tube raises the surface up against gravity.

At the point where the new surface come to rest, a wick is connected and hangs down.

The liquid soaks into the wick, it then flows down because of gravity back into the container...

read the rest:
Liquid Gravity Motor
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:20 PM
bugler bugler is offline
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Amazing simple idea!

What would be the diameter and height of the pipe and what % of the pipe would be under water?
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:53 AM
Vortex Vortex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
A neat fun idea

Physics: - - - - Gravity Powered, Liquid Surface Tension Engine


In a sealed container of liquid, a capillary tube raises the surface up against gravity.

At the point where the new surface come to rest, a wick is connected and hangs down.

The liquid soaks into the wick, it then flows down because of gravity back into the container...

read the rest:
Liquid Gravity Motor
Thank you for posting this Aaron...
You never know when or how a "piece" of the puzzle will fit ..
You're the man, Aaron..! I have a "Name" for my problem.

I've fallen victim of capillary attraction it seems.
My home made batteries keep leaking .. at least I thought they were leaking.
Then I thought they were "boiling" over during charging...
.. it seems there's big time capillary attraction between the pvc pipe and the cut up aluminum cans.
the cells are only like 1.5" high x 0.75" dia. and they keep losing water between the al-can and the pvc pipe. !crud!

Oh... the al-can is sticking out of the pvc about 0.25" .
I'd prefer to keep it sticking out of the pvc, because that's part of the current design.
Maybe tape will seal it off.
That will not stop the capillary attraction from climbing up, but might stop
the draining of the cell.

Randy

Last edited by Vortex : 02-09-2009 at 10:54 AM. Reason: bad proof reading
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:18 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Hi Aaron, group,

A reply I made to creativity over on Overunity.com today.

Funny it hasn't been a week since a wondered about refilling that
and restarting it.

1st thing. The enclosure MUST be airtight sealed...
Another person tried and tried to make it work open, evaporation was
a problem

I did not understand his setup until after he was totally discouraged.

I could not get mine to drip. BUT a droplet would form at the bottom of the
wick and hang there. My cap-tube was not tiny enough to raise the alcohol
far enough, for the alcohol on the wick to become heavy enough, to break the
surface tension. What i did was raise the lower surface until the droplet as
it was forming contacted it and it oscillated like that for years. Sitting on a
window sill and the disturbance was reflected on the wall or ceiling.

The droplet would form, grow, make contact drain away repeat...

DrSpark aka Dave_Cahoon
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:50 AM
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water motion

Very cool concept Dave! Didn't realize that was yours!
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:35 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Aaron,

I truly doubt that I was the first to think of this, BUT it has been on my site since last century It is an original thought I had and followed.

Dave
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:13 AM
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Hi Aaron,

This is simlar to the "drinking bird" effect, as far as the wick action goes. With the felt covered bird "beak" and "head,", though, the wicking action cools the glass tubing and the liquid, and also pulls the head down low enough to vent the bottom end and produce a quick backflow which rights the bird. The glass tubing is normally filled with methylene chloride in liquid and vapor form - with little or no air present, and there is a pivot point about halfway up the bird's "neck." The methylene chloride is sensitive to small temperature changes, and the liquid rises in the long glass "neck" of the bird as the water on the head evaporates and the cooling effect lessens. The rising liquid eventually fills the head with enough weight to produce enough torque to rotate the "beak" down towards an open container of water, and then the cooling cycle begins again.

The "drinking bird" is really a great example of a simple heat engine, but little more than an amusing toy in the size that it is normally built in. Now suppose that you built a similar device that stood 8 to 10 feet tall, and used 1 gallon glass wine jugs for the "head" and the "body," with 1 inch tubing for the "neck." You could probably develop some useful power from that, which could be extracted each time the bird rocks backwards. This extraction could easily be accomplished using a ratchet motion, which could be used to either wind up a spring (like winding a mechanical alarm clock), or to hoist a weight, (as one would do in a grandfather clock.) The energy potential stored in the spring, or weight, could then be governed (as is done in clocks) to produce a constant rpm to drive a generator. The size of the generator would be determined by the size and weight of the "bird," and the force of the spring or weight utilized. If you set this up near a south facing window, and used a flat black heat sink to absorb heat from the sun, and applied that heat to the lower jug, this would speed up the number of cycles that could be accomplished. Making the "beak" absorb water more quickly would also speed the cycles.

Say, while I'm here - do you (or anyone else) recall the other thread about water capillary action that was started several months back? It had something to do with raising water above the surface by capillary action in a tube, and then allowing a small stream to flow out, below the water surface level of the tube, from a vent hole in the side of the tube. I meant to bookmark that, and thought that I did, but can't seem to find it now.

Best regards,

Rick

Last edited by rickoff : 02-10-2009 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:24 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Rick,

DippyBird(tm) is a open relative humidity engine.
CapTubeToy is a sealed perpetual motion engine.

I think one of these is a 2nd violation.
The other is not..

Dave
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:40 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Rick,

If you could make a teeny pin hole in a cap-tube
and somehow wet it, it will weep forever in a sealed
container. Equally interesting!

Fascinating only from a pure physics POV IMHO...
just like cap tube toy...

Dave
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:48 AM
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Reply to Dave

Hi Dave,

The glass tubing of the drinking bird, or "dippy bird," is definitely sealed, and not open to the atmosphere. It works on seven chemical and physical principles, and vilotes no laws.

I had never heard of CapTubeToy, and can't find a reference to it in a Google search using "captubetoy," "captube toy," or "cap tube toy."

Can you supply a link to information about that?

Thanks,

Rick
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:57 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Rick,

Its a full moon I'm usually not combative
CapTubeToy is what the topic of this thread is,
A simple forever dripping device.
I really never thought it would go anywhere.. 10+yo
I think i can pop teeeny holes in a cap tube with hv???
Ken Sholders tech???
you got me going now..

Dave
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:05 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Rick,

I must add; If you put dippy bird in a box it will stop as
soon as the humidity equalizes. if there isn't a supply of
fresh air to the wet nose it will not be evaporating and
there will be no cooling because of evaporation.
The cold nose-head contracts and sucks its working
fluid off balance.

When it tips, it all stirs up and it rights itself to repeat.
It could pump water in the desert forever if primed

The minto wheel is a rotary device like the dippybird

Dave

Last edited by dave_cahoon : 02-10-2009 at 09:07 AM. Reason: add minto wheel ref
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:32 AM
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Hi dave,

You can also make the dippy bird work without any water container, and without regard for humidity at all, simply by applying heat at the lower end, which is something I suggested doing with a larger model to speed the cycles.

Yes, I have heard that the Minto wheel is said to work on similar principles, and is also a heat engine.

Rick

Last edited by rickoff : 02-10-2009 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:29 AM
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Here is a video of some very big drinking birds
YouTube - drinking bird
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:48 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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De-Railment

Rick,

Why did you divert the direction of this thread to the dippy bird?
Why not a solar powered bi-metal wheel or some other obscure heat engine.

What we were trying to discus is not a heat engine.

Back on topic Rick; How does the Drinking bird have anything to due
with capillary action and how the original devise worked?

Rick? What is capillary action? Also while your at it what is absorption.
Rick, Why do liquids soak into some materials and not others?

Dave
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:46 PM
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Thumbs up Perpetual motion water wheel....

Is this water wheel for real?

YouTube - Perpetual motion water wheel
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:22 AM
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reply to Dave:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_cahoon View Post
Rick, Why did you divert the direction of this thread to the dippy bird? Why not a solar powered bi-metal wheel or some other obscure heat engine. What we were trying to discus is not a heat engine.

Back on topic Rick; How does the Drinking bird have anything to due
with capillary action and how the original devise worked?

Rick? What is capillary action? Also while your at it what is absorption.
Rick, Why do liquids soak into some materials and not others?

Dave
Hi Dave,

In case you didn't notice, the title of this thread is "Perpetual Motion" with Water. So I figured that anything which used water to produce continuous motion would be of interest herein, and welcomed. Perhaps I was wrong, although my post did seem to spark some replies by interested readers (by the way, thanks to jetijs for the big bird link, and to tknlsn255 for the "perpetual" water wheel - very interesting). Of couse nothing that has been discussed within this thread is truly perpetual in the real sense of the word, and I am certain that is why Aaron placed quotation marks around the words, "Perpetual Motion," in the title. Any and all of the devices mentioned thus far are quite incapable of true perpetual, or never ending, motion, as I am sure you will agree.

Now to your questions. I think you meant to ask, "How does the Drinking bird have anything to do (not "due") with capillary action and how the original device (not "devise") worked?"

I think I made it clear right at the start that the bird's felt covered "beak" and "head" use capillary action to draw up water, and that this was the similarity. I then went on to explain what else is occuring with the drinking bird that differs from the example in the first post, and suggested a way that a large model could be constructed and harnessed to produce renewable energy. Hmm, after all, isn't renewable energy the main topic of discussion here, and from which all other threads are derived? So what's the harm, and why are you upset? To my way of thinking, any ideas for producing inexpensive renewable energy should be heartily welcomed here, and those who post such ideas should not be chastised. Of course that's just my opinion, for what it's worth.

As to your other questions:

Q - "What is capillary action?"
A - To put it simply, in just one word, wicking. The felt "beak" and "head" covering of the drinking bird draws up water by wicking, or capillary action. You can learn about capillary action here: Capillary action - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Q - "What is absorption?"
A - Absorption can be any of 3 things:
  1. The process of absorbing or being absorbed. For example, the drinking bird's beak and head covering, or the string of the first example in this thread, are 'absorbing' water, while the water is being 'absorbed.'
  2. The interception of radiant energy or sound waves, which is an interesting topic but does not seem to apply herein.
  3. Having one's mind fully occupied with thought, which I must say certainly is the case for me whenever reading or posting to threads at EnergeticForum. This one does appear applicable, then, or we wouldn't even be here.
Q - "Why do liquids soak into some materials and not others?"
A - Basically, that is because some materials possess the ability to absorb certain liquids, while others do not. Felt, as used for the covering of the drinking bird's head and beak, absorbs water quite well, whereas glass, such as used for the drinking bird's body, neck, and head, does not.

I hope that this was helpful and instructive to you, and to other interested readers. Believe me, Dave, I never had it in mind to provoke an argument with you or anyone else, and I refuse to participate in any arguments. If you have read anything into any of my posts that suggests a combative or argumentative stance, then I am sorry but you are mistaken. It is easy, when reading something, to interject a harsh tone of voice to the writer's message, when in fact the writer was very calm and composed at the time of the writing. I assure you that I am a very calm, patient, and peaceful person, and you should always read my posts as being quiet thoughts. Perhaps it was just the moon, as you say, or maybe you were just having a couple of bad days, for whatever reason. That can happen to anyone, and if it happened to you then I am sorry to hear that and hope that things will quickly improve for you.

My very best wishes to you,

Rick

Last edited by rickoff : 02-12-2009 at 06:35 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:31 AM
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This idea probably will not work.

Have you guys done anything on heat pipe?
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:23 AM
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not perpetual motion

This is off topic, but may be a useful extension of capillary action dripping device;

Electrostatic Machines

Read about lord kevin's water water drop influence machine that extracts energy from the kinetic energy of falling water drops.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:33 AM
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Reply to anut:

Hi anut,

To my knowledge, no one has begun a thread here devoted to the topic of heat pipes, so feel free to start one if you wish. There are many useful applications. It is an interesting topic, and heat pipe principles are very similar to those of the drinking bird - heating, cooling, working liquid, wicking, capillary action, evaporation, condensation, etc. The blue text is to demonstrate that your post is not entirely off topic here, although, like the drinking bird, it may be found by some to be better received if placed elsewhere, such as in a heat pipe, or heat engine thread.

Thanks for sharing,

Rick
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:36 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Rick,

I'm not upset, Just curious and not long winded on the keyboard.
Its our first thaw here on the farm and I was tending the wood
system so it wouldn't flood out in the heavy rain/moisture.
If I loose the coal bed its imposable to restart in the rain..
The rain just ended here an hour ago. I'm now ramping temps down..
It never ends here..

Thanks for pointing out my spelling mistake, very revealing.


Group,

The disturbed surface toy was very inspirational.
If any of you make one work, it will prove an
important point you will never forget.

Making a engine run on wood was almost as good.

Good luck with this one it was easy. You can see cap
action with the tube supplied with wd40 can. A spray
lubrication and water displacement solvent sold here.
You can add magnet wire inside the tube to decrease
its ID and get more *lift*..

When yours runs; Remove the lid and glue it back on.

That's why mine dried out over the 10 years..
The alcohol attacked the lid of the baby food jar too.
If you use water add bleach.

Dave
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:06 AM
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My post contains two sentences. You have to read both in order to understand what is missing in this so-called "perpetual motion machine".


Quote:
Originally Posted by rickoff View Post
Hi anut,

To my knowledge, no one has begun a thread here devoted to the topic of heat pipes, so feel free to start one if you wish. There are many useful applications. It is an interesting topic, and heat pipe principles are very similar to those of the drinking bird - heating, cooling, working liquid, wicking, capillary action, evaporation, condensation, etc. The blue text is to demonstrate that your post is not entirely off topic here, although, like the drinking bird, it may be found by some to be better received if placed elsewhere, such as in a heat pipe, or heat engine thread.

Thanks for sharing,

Rick
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:49 AM
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Reply to anut:

Quote:
Originally Posted by anut View Post
My post contains two sentences. You have to read both in order to understand what is missing in this so-called "perpetual motion machine".
Hi anut,

Yes, I read them. The first says, "This idea probably will not work," but does not refer to what idea you are talking about, so it's anyone's guess.

Since you didn't reference what it is that you were talking about, and the only other sentence in your post is asking if we have done anything with heat pipes, one might logically conclude that you were suggesting that heat pipes probably will not work.

Also, in your newer post as quoted above, what is it that you are referring to as "missing in this so-called perpetual motion machine." You have neither explained what machine you are talking about, nor have you explained what is missing. See what I mean? It's a bit too vague. No harm done - just try to be more specific next time, okay?

Best regards,

Rick
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Old 02-12-2009, 11:16 AM
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Thank you for patience.

Methink: In this "perpetual motion machine", the string-wick will not only form water droplet which is subject to surface tension, but also wick water up (backward) until a new state of equilibrium is reached. Surface tension is dependent on temperature and molar volume of water. If the temperature at the end of the string-wick is not low enough ( I mean, relatively speaking), or if there is not enough evaporation that moves the water up through the capillary tube, little condensation will take place.

The heat pipe works simply because of two reasons: First, the pressure is low enough for evaporation to take place instantly. Second, there is a temperature difference between two ends of the heat pipe. This temperature difference also results in difference in surface tension along the heat pipe.




Quote:
Originally Posted by rickoff View Post
Hi anut,

Yes, I read them. The first says, "This idea probably will not work," but does not refer to what idea you are talking about, so it's anyone's guess.

Since you didn't reference what it is that you were talking about, and the only other sentence in your post is asking if we have done anything with heat pipes, one might logically conclude that you were suggesting that heat pipes probably will not work.

Also, in your newer post as quoted above, what is it that you are referring to as "missing in this so-called perpetual motion machine." You have neither explained what machine you are talking about, nor have you explained what is missing. See what I mean? It's a bit too vague. No harm done - just try to be more specific next time, okay?

Best regards,

Rick

Last edited by anut : 02-12-2009 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 11:29 AM
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Important no matter how its labled!

Water is extremely heavy...
Anyway to lift it effectively is a big breakthrough!
Since when you drop water you can generate enormous power

Hydro power remains as one of the greatest untapped forces in the world. This is a important thread in its exploration of a avenue with potentials
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:15 PM
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Reply to anut:

Quote:
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Thank you for patience.

Methink: In this "perpetual motion machine", the string-wick will not only form water droplet which is subject to surface tension, but also wick water up (backward) until a new state of equilibrium is reached. Surface tension is dependent on temperature and molar volume of water. If the temperature at the end of the string-wick is not low enough ( I mean, relatively speaking), or if there is not enough evaporation that moves the water up through the capillary tube, little condensation will take place.
No, the string-wick will not wick water up backwards until equilibrium is reached. The reason why is because the water level in the capillary tube is at a higher level than the water in the jar, and it will always (under normal operating conditions) remain at a higher level. Because of the higher level, water wicked up over the top of the tube will be aided by gravity, and will fall to a lower point along the wick with ease. Water attempting to wick up backwards will be fighting against gravity, and also against the flow of water falling down the wick. You can quickly prove this wicking principle even without use of a capillary tube. Take two drinking glasses and fill each with water until the level is about 1/8" from the top. Take a tea cup, invert it, and place it on a counter top. Place one of the glasses on top of the cup, to raise it a couple of inches above the counter top surface. Place the other glass alongside, and directly on the countertop. Now tear off a paper towel and keep folding it over until it is a long strip about an inch wide. This will be our "wick." Cut the wick to a length that will allow each end to be inserted about an inch into its respective water glass. Drop one end about an inch deep into the water of the higher glass, drape it down over the rim of the glass, and place the remainder of the wick into the water of the lower glass. To be fair, try to do the dunking of the wick in each glass simultaneously. Now watch the wick. The water will be absorbed upwards by the wick at both ends. Within a minute, the wick will be saturated with water. At the point along the wick where water meets water, there should be an equilibrium if what you suggest is true. In fact, though, the water flow will spill over the top of the glass placed on the countertop within a couple of minutes.

The temperature of the water at either end of the wick has little to do with the wicking action, and you can also prove this in the same experiment. Fill the upper glass with cool tap water, and fill the lower glass with water heated to 150F degrees. You can test the temperature by inserting a meat thermometer probe into the hot water, and a regular thermometer can check the cool water temperature. Insert a new wick into both glasses. The flow will be to the lower glass, as before. A temperature reading will show that the hot water reading has dropped 20 to 30 degrees, while the cold water temperature has not risen. Now do the same test with the hot and cool water glasses reversed. The flow will still be to the lower glass, and this time the hot water temperature will remain near 150 degrees while the cool water temperature will rise somewhat.

The water wicking device, shown in the first post of this thread will work just fine without any evaporation or condensation, and does not rely on a heat process. The temperature within the sealed container will remain fairly constant throughout, and will only be affected by the environment it is placed in. You could certainly either raise or lower the temperature of the environment to the point where the "perpetual motion" will stop, but the aim is to keep the temperature fairly steady, and within an acceptable operating range.

The water is drawn up through the capillary tube because of surface tension and the meniscus effect (the fact that water in a tube curves upwards as it meets the tube surface). The height that the water reaches in the tube is dependent upon the inside diameter of the tube (smaller goes higher), the density of the water and the air within the tube, the surface tension of the water, the accelleration of gravity, and the meniscus angle of contact between the water and the tube surface. Water in a tube has a concave meniscus, with the lowest point of the curve at the center of the tube. Mercury, on the other hand, has a convex meniscus, which is higher at the center.

I hope this helps to give you a better understanding of the basic operating principles, which I think Dave will confirm are correct. Dave may wish to expand this explanation further, and he is the undisputed expert regarding the operating principles of the device.

Best regards to you,

Rick
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 02-12-2009, 11:06 PM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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Yes Rick, Thankyou.

That is how this system operates.

I'm sorry I don't have a good photo of the
static droplet that formed and hung there.
But all I did was raise the bottom surface
until the droplet AS IT FORMS makes
contact with the surface, that brakes its
tension and allowed the liquid to drain off
so another droplet could form...

For those Experimenting with carb-clean
and wd-40 tubes. Antifreeze will climb
higher than water and alcohol both. other
liquids more or less.

To make a running system a chemists capillary
tube will be required, and you have to break/cut
it to fit your enclosure.

Dave

Last edited by dave_cahoon : 02-13-2009 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:01 AM
dave_cahoon dave_cahoon is offline
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10 years later
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:27 AM
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Aaron Aaron is online now
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wetter water

Would a water wetter make the drop fall off easier? A drop of soap in the whole solution or Willard Water or something?
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:49 AM
anut anut is offline
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Surface tension is dependent upon temperature and molar volume of the solution:

"surface tension" temperature - Google Search

Wicking IS capillary action. The term wicking usually refers to the movement of moisture within a wicking fabric by capillary action. In the "perpetual motion" experiment, the capillary action is not just limited to the glass tube. Capillary action is obviously due to the solution's surface tension, which in turn depends on the temperature.

Regarding your experiment, please post a diagram of your setup. This will give us an opportunity to understand how well the experimental setup is insulated from the ambient.

I believe most of us in this forum have a phd in science or whatever. I would presume everyone of us is an expert (perhaps, a loudmouth expert ). But, this acknowledgement will not give us better understanding of the basic operating principles. So, please focus on the scientific facts ONLY.











Quote:
Originally Posted by rickoff View Post
No, the string-wick will not wick water up backwards until equilibrium is reached. The reason why is because the water level in the capillary tube is at a higher level than the water in the jar, and it will always (under normal operating conditions) remain at a higher level. Because of the higher level, water wicked up over the top of the tube will be aided by gravity, and will fall to a lower point along the wick with ease. Water attempting to wick up backwards will be fighting against gravity, and also against the flow of water falling down the wick. You can quickly prove this wicking principle even without use of a capillary tube. Take two drinking glasses and fill each with water until the level is about 1/8" from the top. Take a tea cup, invert it, and place it on a counter top. Place one of the glasses on top of the cup, to raise it a couple of inches above the counter top surface. Place the other glass alongside, and directly on the countertop. Now tear off a paper towel and keep folding it over until it is a long strip about an inch wide. This will be our "wick." Cut the wick to a length that will allow each end to be inserted about an inch into its respective water glass. Drop one end about an inch deep into the water of the higher glass, drape it down over the rim of the glass, and place the remainder of the wick into the water of the lower glass. To be fair, try to do the dunking of the wick in each glass simultaneously. Now watch the wick. The water will be absorbed upwards by the wick at both ends. Within a minute, the wick will be saturated with water. At the point along the wick where water meets water, there should be an equilibrium if what you suggest is true. In fact, though, the water flow will spill over the top of the glass placed on the countertop within a couple of minutes.

The temperature of the water at either end of the wick has little to do with the wicking action, and you can also prove this in the same experiment. Fill the upper glass with cool tap water, and fill the lower glass with water heated to 150F degrees. You can test the temperature by inserting a meat thermometer probe into the hot water, and a regular thermometer can check the cool water temperature. Insert a new wick into both glasses. The flow will be to the lower glass, as before. A temperature reading will show that the hot water reading has dropped 20 to 30 degrees, while the cold water temperature has not risen. Now do the same test with the hot and cool water glasses reversed. The flow will still be to the lower glass, and this time the hot water temperature will remain near 150 degrees while the cool water temperature will rise somewhat.

The water wicking device, shown in the first post of this thread will work just fine without any evaporation or condensation, and does not rely on a heat process. The temperature within the sealed container will remain fairly constant throughout, and will only be affected by the environment it is placed in. You could certainly either raise or lower the temperature of the environment to the point where the "perpetual motion" will stop, but the aim is to keep the temperature fairly steady, and within an acceptable operating range.

The water is drawn up through the capillary tube because of surface tension and the meniscus effect (the fact that water in a tube curves upwards as it meets the tube surface). The height that the water reaches in the tube is dependent upon the inside diameter of the tube (smaller goes higher), the density of the water and the air within the tube, the surface tension of the water, the accelleration of gravity, and the meniscus angle of contact between the water and the tube surface. Water in a tube has a concave meniscus, with the lowest point of the curve at the center of the tube. Mercury, on the other hand, has a convex meniscus, which is higher at the center.

I hope this helps to give you a better understanding of the basic operating principles, which I think Dave will confirm are correct. Dave may wish to expand this explanation further, and he is the undisputed expert regarding the operating principles of the device.

Best regards to you,

Rick
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