The height limit of a siphon

Boatwright, Adrian, Hughes, Stephen W., & Barry, John (2015) The height limit of a siphon. Scientific Reports, Article number:-16790.

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Abstract

The maximum height of a siphon is generally assumed to be dependent on barometric pressure—about 10 m at sea level. This limit arises because the pressure in a siphon above the upper reservoir level is below the ambient pressure, and when the height of a siphon approaches 10 m, the pressure at the crown of the siphon falls below the vapour pressure of water causing water to boil breaking the column. After breaking, the columns on either side are supported by differential pressure between ambient and the low-pressure region at the top of the siphon. Here we report an experiment of a siphon operating at sea level at a height of 15 m, well above 10 m. Prior degassing of the water prevented cavitation. This experiment provides conclusive evidence that siphons operate through gravity and molecular cohesion.

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ID Code: 93308
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: siphon, tree, gravity, cohesion, height
DOI: 10.1038/srep16790
ISSN: 2045-2322
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 01 Mar 2016 04:31
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2016 01:30

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