Water wicking up porous media and air humidity ?

• Alfreds9
In summary, the conversation discusses the design of three different examples and their potential for maintaining high and steady air humidity at a measuring point. The discussion includes factors such as the presence of a "wick" and its ability to remove water, as well as the role of air circulation in the evaporation process. It is concluded that the design of example #2 would likely result in the highest air humidity due to the efficient replacement of water vapor. However, it is noted that the design may vary depending on the specific conditions and variables involved.
Alfreds9
Hello,

I'd like to know which of these 3 example I sketched would have a steadier and higher air humidity at measuring point, assuming same conditions (except those illustrated as different, like porous media thickness and measuring point), water level and air turbulence within larger container (illustrations are a cross view).
Wild guesses are of course welcome since I don't need nor can ask for anything exact given my poor and generic example.

Thank you

Allison

Guessing - #2.
- assuming that the height up the sides is short enough to allow the "wick" to be wet at the top.
- there is enough energy to remove water from the wick at the top
- rule of thumb: water will climb higher via a wick than via diffusion in air.

Last edited:
Tom.G
Simon Bridge said:
Guessing - #2.
- assuming that the height up the sides is short enough to allow the "wick" to be wet at the top.
- there is enough energy to remove water from the wick at the top
- rule of thumb: water will climb higher via a wick than via diffusion in air.

I see, thank you.
I erroneously thought it was #3 since I supposed the greater surface area of porous particles could play a role into replacing water vapor content in air more efficiently than porous particles slightly closer to measuring point.

The process is, simplistically, water evaporates off the top and gets carried off by convection (to be replaced by water from below kinda soaking upwards.)
If the top is not exposed to air that can circulate, then the air gets saturated so water no longer evaporates. This stops the process.
I suspect 1 and 3 would be about the same... the air in the narrow parts would quickly get saturated.

1. What is water wicking up porous media and how does it work?

Water wicking up porous media refers to the movement of water through a material with small pores, such as soil or fabric. This movement is driven by capillary action, where the water is pulled upwards against gravity due to the attraction between water molecules and the material's surface.

2. How does the porosity of a material affect water wicking?

The more porous a material is, the easier it is for water to wick through it. This is because there are more spaces for the water to move through and more surface area for capillary action to occur. Materials with smaller pores, such as clay, have less porosity and therefore water wicks more slowly through them.

3. Can air humidity affect water wicking up porous media?

Yes, air humidity can play a significant role in water wicking. When the air is dry, the water in the material's pores is more likely to evaporate, creating a suction force that pulls more water up. On the other hand, high humidity can slow down water wicking by reducing the rate of evaporation and decreasing the suction force.

4. How does temperature impact water wicking up porous media?

Temperature can affect water wicking in two ways. Firstly, higher temperatures can increase the rate of evaporation, leading to faster water wicking. Secondly, some materials, such as clay, can expand and contract with temperature changes, which can affect the size of their pores and therefore impact water wicking.

5. Can water wicking up porous media be used for practical applications?

Yes, water wicking has several practical applications, such as in irrigation systems, where water is pulled up through soil to reach plant roots. It is also used in absorbent materials, such as sponges and diapers, to quickly absorb and distribute water. Additionally, some building materials use water wicking to prevent water damage and mold growth.

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