Talk:Directory:Capillary Action Engines

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Discussion page for Directory:Capillary Action Engines

Image:Capillary Engine proposal MatthewNash 95x95.jpg
Latest: Directory:Hydro > Directory:Capillary Action Engines - For a few hundred years, many people have attempted to devise a way to come out ahead with capillary action. Yes, a dry cloth can lift water and essentially do work - but the energy it then takes to get the water out of the capillary tight spaces is considered by physics to be more than you can ever get from the absorption stage. (PESWiki Nov. 9, 2009) (Comment)


In order for the water to exit the top of the capillary tube, it must fight the surface tension. As the surface tension is by principle the source of the capillarity, the force provided by the capillarity cannot exceed the force required to evacuate the water.

It follows that no such engines can work ???

Comparison to Photovoltaics

On February 18, 2010, User:OliKurbik wrote:

So, are Capillary Action Engines possible?

Obviously, you can’t get work done just from capillary action. But...

There’s a point of view that I find useful to clarify the viability of a capillary action device, which could transform energy from a heat source (such as the sun) into a more useful form of energy. This device would work as a solar energy system, with the fluid (not necessarily water) been removed from the ends of the capillary tubes via evaporation, as in the case of a plant.

The foundation of this perspective is the analogy between such a capillary action device and familiar photovoltaic systems (rooted in the well-known electronic–hydraulic analogy.) The capillary material may be considered as a kind of fluid semi-conductor, playing the role of "electron fluid" semi-conductor materials in typical photovoltaic devices. (Keep in mind also the analogy between the behaviour of a capillary tube and the behaviour of an electric semi-conductor or semi-insulator material, the equivalence between the equations describing the fluid discharge of the capillary tube and the electric discharge of a capacitor.)

So, from this perspective, there are two phenomena to be taken as similar or analogous: (1) the generation of free electrons when ionizing radiation strikes an electric semi-conductor material, and, (2) in the hypothetical capillary action device, the extraction of fluid from the ends of the capillary tubes, by the action of the heat from the sun.

This capillary action device, or capillary pumped heat engine, similar to a photovoltaic system, would be a closed loop fluid circuit. The circuit would be composed of consecutive segments with different characteristics: simple conductive channels, and conduits occupied with capillary materials (or “semi-conductive channels”.) The fluid is pushed into a continuous circular motion inside the circuit, while a turbine extracts the energy from this fluid flow and converts it into useful work. The fluid motion is caused by the action of the heat received from a source such as the sun, for example, and the action of the gravitational force. The fluid goes up in the gravitational field through the capillary material that occupies the rising part of the circuit. At the highest part, the fluid receives the heat from the sun, and it's extracted in this way from the capillary material. This extracted fluid is collected and conducted to the falling segment of the circuit, for example by something like a kind of transparent vault with a system of collecting conduits. Finally, the fluid pushed by the gravitational force arrives at the lowest part of the circuit, where it is captured again by the capillary material.

Obvious analogy, isn’t it?

Even more hypothetically, and downgrading the role of the gravitational field, I can imagine a conduit made of a stack of different capillary materials, equivalent to the combination of successive differently doped semi-conductor materials in solar cells. What do you think? :-)

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