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Faucet mystery (help )

  1. Sep 26, 2006 #1
    faucet mystery (help!!!!!)

    I'm in a physics class and we have 3 sinks in the class room on the same wall.All the faucet are off. When you turn one faucet on all 3 faucet are on and the water is running from them.
    when you turn faucet 1 on , 2 and 3 are also on
    when you turn faucet 2 on , 1 and 3 are also on
    when you turn faucet 3 on , 1 and 2 are also on
    :grumpy: :uhh: :rolleyes: :shy:
    It's impossible, but it's true.So we are tryinh to find an explanation for this mystery. Any help?? How does it work?? Why does it work??Please help,

    Thank you,
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 27, 2006 #2
    Sounds like someone messed up the piping. Look under the sinks that'll, probably solve it.
  4. Sep 27, 2006 #3
    This has nothing to do with physics and should be posted in the puzzles section.
  5. Sep 27, 2006 #4
    if it isn't physics ,why should I post it in the puzzle section ?!?!
    anyways, the pips are connected properly ...some maintenance guys came and checked the connections.....
  6. Sep 27, 2006 #5


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    The only way that I can make any sense out of it is if you have electric controls on the taps (such as the IR sensors used in some public washrooms). If so, a wiring error could cause them to trigger each other.
  7. Sep 27, 2006 #6
    Everything has to do with physics. Sounds to me like an issue of fluid dynamics, hydraulics and vacuums.

    Look for worn or poorly-fitted valves in the faucets, or venting problems causing too much pressure when the water flows. And call a decent plumber, not just some maintenance guys.
  8. Sep 27, 2006 #7
    I think I saw this on TV.
  9. Sep 27, 2006 #8


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    That doesn't make sense either. If a faucet is physically closed, then the actions of the others should have no effect. The only interaction between them should be a possible lessening of flow rate with more than one open, and then only if the line pressure is low. Physically opening one tap cannot physically open another one.
  10. Sep 27, 2006 #9
    Unless there's some type of rod linkage connecting the three valves. Even then you'd expect the other faucets handles to move when you move one.
  11. Sep 28, 2006 #10
    Reminds me of those lateral thinking problems. So little background information is given that there are countless feasible explanations, which can't be distinguished unless further experiments are carried out. For one example, if water through one tap causes enough vibration, the other taps may leak while it is open (you'd want to listen how much noise the pipes make, to support or disprove this one). For another example, "blueman" could be making the whole thing up. You could investigate the plumbing, the fixture design, the teacher.. This is like trying to pick the curve of best fit (and is it linear? exponential? sinusoidal?) when you only have one or two data points.
  12. Sep 28, 2006 #11

    Andrew Mason

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    Why impossible? The taps are obviously in parallel and the faucets are in series with the water pipe.

  13. Sep 28, 2006 #12


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  14. Sep 28, 2006 #13
    This sounds like a joke.... :zzz:
  15. Oct 4, 2006 #14
    I've got the solution you all!
    As we all know, divergence can be thought of as measuring an outflow from a source. So we should perform the following calculation:
    [itex]\int_{V} \bigtriangledown\cdot faucet\ d\tau[/itex]
    being carful to make our volume big enough to pick up all faucets.
    This will measure the outflow into our chosen volume from all the faucets
    By Green's Theorem this should be equal to:
    [itex]\oint_{S}faucet\cdot da[/itex]
    Which, of course, just represents the pipe flow to the sources as it passes through our surface.
    Hence I propose we should vary our volume to find the point where the integrals no longer agree which will pinpoint the precise location at which the cause of this mysterious phenomenon exists. :smile:
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2006
  16. Oct 4, 2006 #15
    What happens when you flush the toilet? :surprised
  17. Oct 4, 2006 #16
    Ahhhh Spin off research.......where all the great discoveries are made.
  18. Nov 27, 2008 #17
    Re: faucet mystery (help!!!!!)

    As long as all the faucets have handles and they work properly and are closed while one of the faucets is working, there is no way all three will work simultanously. However faucets might have cencors so there might be a case with wiring.
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