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The height limit of a siphon

OPEN Scientific reports | 3 Dec 2015

A Boatwright, S Hughes and J Barry
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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Concepts
Gas, Partial pressure, Evaporation, Pressure, Ocean, Atmospheric pressure, Vapor pressure, Water
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