[Physics] Can capillary forces be used to make hydro electricity

capillary-actionelectricityrenewable energy

Could a device with very thin columns of glass or something that attracts water more be used to pull water up and then release it to drive generator and perhaps add vacuum.

I have been wondering about this on and off for like 8 years.

Best Answer

No, this sadly will not work. You can of course get water up this way, but it won't disconnect from the glass tube. As capillary forces result from surface tension, to make the water fall back down, you will need to overcome this surface tension. This turns out to cancel the "won" energy.

With a colleague I already discussed a more sophisticated way to try to employ this phenomenon using super fluids. Due to surface tension they tend to flow up walls. So if you put a super fluid in an container a thin film will flow up to the ceiling of the container. But yet again, it won't just fall down.

So no, you cannot farm energy this way.

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