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Thread: Capillary Action - Free Energy?

  1. #1 Capillary Action - Free Energy? 
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    Ever wonder how a tree as tall as a redwood can get water all the way from its roots to its top leaves? Water is pretty heavy, yet the redwood tree moves thousands of gallons of water (that's 8,000 pounds, or 4 tons) up into its canopy every day, and it does it without doing any work. That's pretty amazing!

    It is.

    "Without any work" - unless you're going to say that the Sun shining is 'work', in this scenario, isn't capillary action as close to free energy as exists?

    Why aren't we harnessing it? You build a tube, and wait. We can do that?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    Well it isn't free energy in the thermodynamic sense. It also can't really be used as a traditional water pump: the water has to evaporate off the top of the capillary for it to draw more water from the roots.

    Still it might have its uses. Like we build a few capillary type machines to drain a marsh. The problem is that trees are a whole lot better at building capillaries than we are. There are a few capillaries (artificial trees) which researchers have built, but they aren't nearly as awesome at it as a real tree.


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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    trees are a whole lot better at building capillaries than we are
    Marvelously so. A tree essentially is a wick. A perfect wick.

    If you had desert plus ...free greenhouses... then you could pump water by humidifying daytime greenhouse air with bushes, then collecting the overnight condensation. That could be a passive collection requiring no work.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  5. #4  
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    I think there's a hydro-electric power source in this. Someday.

    But thanks for the replies.
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