The Secret Siphon

Hughes, Stephen W. (2011) The Secret Siphon. Physics Education, 46(3), pp. 298-302.

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Although the siphon has been in use since ancient times, the exact mechanism of operation is still under discussion. For example, most dictionaries assert that atmospheric pressure is essential to the operation of a siphon rather than gravity. Although there is general agreement that gravity is the motivating force in a siphon, there is disagreement on how liquid enters a siphon – is it atmospheric push or tensile pull? This paper describes a classroom experiment that can serve as the basis for discussing how a siphon works. The experiment involves the construction of a siphon in which the water level in the upper reservoir is held constant during the operation of the siphon. Since the atmosphere is not doing any work on the water in the upper reservoir only gravity is at work. The special situation of a bubble-in-a-siphon is also discussed in which both atmospheric pressure and gravity are at work.

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4 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 41923
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: siphon, hero, atmospheric pressure, gravity, cohesion-tension theory
DOI: 10.1088/0031-9120/46/3/007
ISSN: 0031-9120
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS (020400) > Condensed Matter Physics not elsewhere classified (020499)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Physics
Copyright Owner: Institute of Physics
Deposited On: 07 Jun 2011 04:29
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2011 01:56

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