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Use of capillarity in pumping water

  1. Feb 18, 2013 #1
    capillarity has the power to raise water.. then can it be used to pump water to greater heights???
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, but it takes input energy. The same surface tension which draws it up also keeps it strongly attracted to the tube at the top. Energy has to be used to get it out of the tube.

    In plants, capillary action pumps water and the input energy is the sun (evaporation, etc).
  4. Feb 19, 2013 #3
    yeah right!! but what is the maximum limit upto which u can raise water just using capillarity and without the aid of external energy?? isnt it possible by making a tube of very small diameter??
  5. Feb 19, 2013 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    There are automatic plant wetting systems that use capillary effects, they do move water up to some extent. Actually up to now I have never thought about the way they work from the energy point of view.
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