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Continuous water fountain

  1. Dec 16, 2008 #1
    Hello, i am trying to remember the name of the guy who created a water fountain that seemed to recycle its own water by using pressure or something in order to siphon it back up to the start. I can't remember the era this guy was from but i am pretty sure it was before electricity so probably several centuries ago. I saw it on the history channel last year if that helps. I do not remember him having to do anything to make it work. It seemed like the water fell in a large bowl which emptied out to closed bowl beneath which had a tube connected to it that lead back up to the start.

    I am thinking that maybe the large bowl had enough water in it pushing down on the water beneath that the water beneath traveled back up to the top.

    any ideas on the name? or how to make a fountain like this? i.e. a fountain that does not require electricity or pumps to continue operating.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2008 #2

    Danger

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    I vaguely remember that this topic popped up a couple of years ago.
    Regardless, it won't work. Thermodynamics would be violated, as it would essentially be a perpetual motion machine. It would take more energy to get the water back up than you can gain by dropping it.
     
  4. Dec 16, 2008 #3

    russ_watters

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    This is a classic and ancient example of a perpetual motion machine, possibly invented by Vittorio Zonca in the late 1500s. It's called the "perverted siphon". Needless to say, it does not work. http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/museum/people/people.htm (he's about a third of the way down on this page)
     
  5. Dec 17, 2008 #4
    Hero of Alexandra designed some fountains that more or less match the OP's description (but actually powered by gravity like a grandfather clock).
     
  6. Apr 20, 2009 #5
    Are most people here of the general idea that the concept of extracting energy from source such as this wishful almost foolish thinking?
    Just a question.
     
  7. Apr 20, 2009 #6
    Many years ago, I worked at a summer camp in the Sierras that had a fresh water spring they had to pump over a 100 foot high hill. The put a pump about 50 feet below the spring, and pumped it over the 150 foot elevation with a special pump, called a ram pump (see http://www.animatedsoftware.com/pumpglos/ram_pump.htm). It took about 5 gallons of input water to get one gallon over the hill, so no perpetual motion.
     
  8. Apr 20, 2009 #7

    rcgldr

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    I recall a TV episode about a very long vertical tube placed into the ocean, with a resultant small fountain of water being spouted out the top, without requiring wave action as most of these devices require. What was stated to be happening was low salinity water at the bottom of the tube was being heated as it rose, becoming less dense than the surrounding saltier water at lesser depths. The process resulted in low salinity water being cycled to the top of the ocean, trading off salinity and heat for the flow. It didn't appear to be a hoax (someone could have simply put a pump in the pipe).
     
  9. Apr 20, 2009 #8

    russ_watters

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    Not almost. Sorry, but the law of conservation of energy is real.
     
  10. Apr 20, 2009 #9
    There is a continuous self-powered water fountain in Lake Nyos in Cameroon, powered by supersaturated water-CO2 in the bottom of the lake. The fountains are used to prevent a recurrence of the 1986 disaster in which the lake exploded and asphixiated over 1800 people.

    (from Wiki0
    "The scale of the [Lake Nyos] disaster led to much study on how a recurrence could be prevented. Estimates of the rate of carbon dioxide entering the lake suggested that outgassings could occur every 10–30 years, though a recent study shows that release of water from the lake, caused by erosion of the natural barrier that keeps in the lake's water, could in turn reduce pressure on the lake's carbon dioxide and cause a gas escape much sooner.

    Several researchers independently proposed the installation of degassing columns [and fountains] from rafts in the lake. The principle is simple: a pump lifts water from the bottom of the lake, heavily saturated with CO2, until the loss of pressure begins releasing the gas from the diphasic fluid and thus makes the process self-powered. In 1992 at Monoun, and in 1995 at Nyos, a French team demonstrated the feasibility of this approach. In 2001, the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance funded a permanent installation at Nyos."
     
  11. Apr 21, 2009 #10
    I have heard in the past that there was a Nobel cash price on offer for anyone who could move water?circulate water under its own power?Cant find anything on the net about it,anyone familar with this?
     
  12. Apr 21, 2009 #11
    Well, it really seems to be 'almost' - there is a small but steady stream of crackpot wannabees who work their way thru these threads, insisting that 'they laughed at fulton, too...'

    Gregg
     
  13. Apr 21, 2009 #12
    The thing that intrigues me is that nature performs this very act on a global scale every minute of every day ie the water cycle.This of course would be considered perpetual motion in a sense.
     
  14. Apr 21, 2009 #13
    Nature performs this 'act' by using a large fusion device, located 90 some million miles away. Not even remotely similar to perpetual.
     
  15. Apr 21, 2009 #14
    Im woking on a big-*** umberella type thing as we speak!!!
     
  16. Apr 21, 2009 #15

    russ_watters

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    No, it wouldn't. The term "perpetual motion" isn't what it literally sounds like, since obviously via Newton's first law a continuously moving object is very possible. A "perpetual motion machine", by definition, is one that violates one or more of the laws of thermodynamics, most commonly the 1st law, the law of conservation of energy. Ie, a type 1 perpetual motion machine has more output energy than input.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_motion#Classification
     
  17. Apr 21, 2009 #16

    russ_watters

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    I don't know what that means, but this thread was on thin ice anyway as we don't discuss crackpot ideas here. Thread locked.
     
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