Water flows uphill without pump

Written by Ryan Garside

May 1, 2006 // 2 p.m.

Tags: #cooling #heatpipe #heiner #linke #pump #university-of-oregon #water

The future of computer cooling could be about to move in a new direction after scientists unveiled research showing water being made to move uphill without the use of any pumps.

The technology, which you can see in motion here, was designed by American scientists at the University of Oregon. The process works in a similar to how water reacts when water droplets are dropped onto a steaming pan. Scientists were interested to see whether that movement could be channelled to make water move in a specific direction.

The project is headed up by Dr Heiner Linke, who had this to say about the work:

"The drop rides along on the vapour like a boat on a river. The vapour is generated between the droplet and the ratchet's surface in a narrow gap, about the width of a human hair. The vapour needs a way to get out of there, and it's going to take the easiest way out. There's always going to be one direction in which it's easier to get out."

The scientists have been able to make the water droplets climb over steps and up inclines of 12 degrees. The team now has set it sights on giving the technology a practical function and their primary focus is increasing computing performance by cooling down processors currently cooled by traditional pump-based watercooling.

With the new technology scientists hope that the water could be heated by the processor which would then in turn make the water move around, providing cooling and thus removing the need for an external pumping device. Early speculation by Dr Linke states that a new cooling system could be inside our computers within the next six years.

Will this be a viable cooling solution? Put your school physics lessons to use and let us know your take in the forums.