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Sponge Physics

  1. May 7, 2009 #1
    How do sponges work? Are they trivial? Do they depend on atmospheric pressure to operate? What is the behavior of a sponge in a gravitational field i.e. how does this effect the soaking of water 'uphill'? If sponges are non-trivial than I would be curious to see attempts at modeling them.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2009 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    Sponges work via wetting, which is a poorly-understood physical phenomenon.

    Modeling sponges (or soil, a more relevant problem) in microgravity is complicated by the fact that there is no equilibrium surface, so there is no obvious way to define a minimum energy.

    Look up any work on percolation, soil drainage, flow in porous media, etc.
  4. May 9, 2009 #3
    This is an interesting question.I think surface tension comes into it the water rising up through narrow capillaries in the sponge.Some clues might be gained by looking at the transpiration stream of plants.
  5. May 9, 2009 #4
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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