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Water, paper towel and energy

by tony873004
Tags: energy, paper, towel, water
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tony873004
#1
Sep18-09, 08:05 PM
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
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If you dip a paper towel into water, the water absorbs up the paper towel. These molecules are gaining height, and hence mgh is increasing. Where does the energy come from to lift the water molecules?
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DaleSpam
#2
Sep18-09, 08:11 PM
Mentor
P: 17,543
From the energy required to manufacture the paper.
bp_psy
#3
Sep18-09, 10:47 PM
P: 452
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capillary_action

tony873004
#4
Sep19-09, 12:20 PM
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 1,544
Water, paper towel and energy

Thanks!
Andy Resnick
#5
Sep19-09, 02:57 PM
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P: 5,542
Here's a twist- what happens if you take away gravity? The answer is not so simple, and relates to how to grow food in space.
Pyro Ninja
#6
Sep21-09, 06:31 PM
P: 7
So, if the energy required to lift the water through capillary action, is coming from the
inter-molecular forces, then why aren't these forces being 'used up' very slightly as they convert their energy into the gaining of height by the water molecules?
willem2
#7
Sep22-09, 01:17 AM
P: 1,408
The forces aren't 'used up'. Onlly energy is used up. you can get energy out of water and a paper towel by letting the towel get wet. you have to spend energy to get the water out of the towel again. (pressing or heating)
Andy Resnick
#8
Sep22-09, 07:51 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,542
Quote Quote by Pyro Ninja View Post
So, if the energy required to lift the water through capillary action, is coming from the
inter-molecular forces, then why aren't these forces being 'used up' very slightly as they convert their energy into the gaining of height by the water molecules?
Capillary rise coverts surface energy into gravitational potential energy. When the liquid stops rising, the increase in potential energy is balanced by the loss of surface energy from wetting.


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