I'm trying to get the hang of the conservation of energy. Looking for that aha moment when it makes more sense that energy is conserved than not. When reading it seems to be a consensus that energy is conserved and I want to get it too.

I'm a bit stuck on capillary action well because if I understand why it doesn't work I think it'll clear up the whole "fuel aspect" comparing a plane transporting skydivers at the work of engine with the fuel as energy. Because capillary action well seems to me to have an engine but no fuel and still providing a pressure difference that drives the flow. This is force per surface but it's over a distance? I just can't get my head around it.

overview of problem issue Will the water level when flowing stabilize? if so how will the flow be?

Will the water level when flowing keep lowering until below spout? If so why can't water be sucked up past spout height?

vectors This turned out to be a bit of a sidetrack or at least it seemed to be. It's about vectors, the unit circle, and a try to grab that if perpendicular its displaced but no change in energy. same direction ads and opposite direction could be work. But really I have little, close to none understanding of the conservation of energy so I run home to mama (trigonometry)

closed system comparison Will the capillary action suck up water as long as there is a pipe? If so why can't it do so circular?

context No fuel so capillary action well generator won't work by rule. Why in this particular setup, what would happen?

What is capillary fuel?

(Ps I've done my best a writing a question of use for others as well but I'm having difficulties in being precise because I really don't understand. Also, I'm not very good at English and I'm not very good at forum posting. Anyhow, if this question is of enough value id welcome editing, and perhaps someone who understands this can see what I don't get and clean it up? Or maybe that would cut off some steps necessary?)


  • $\begingroup$ Should I update the question as I am trying to solve the problem? If so, in what way? $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2020 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ You will have a greater interest in readers to respond when your post presents just one specific question. For example, do you want to understand the fundamental relationship of surface tension to surface energy or do you want to understand the un-steady-state affects when water rises up a capillary or do you want the equation that drives the un-steady-state flow of water up a capillary or do you simply want to know how the "capillary with a hole in it" system works? Presenting a "fuel aspect" of skydiving, with an analogy to capillary action as a plane engine, is a distraction at best. $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2020 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ yes, that narrows it down. I keep that in mind $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2020 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


I think it will take me more than this time to understand the conservation of energy. I also do not believe the setup presented in question violates it.

My best guess is that adding perpendicular plumbing aligned with height explicitly points out that theirs difference in height. Pressure difference is so that the flow of water in side plumbing will be sucked up. When theirs no more water it will be replaced with air flow, bubbly, and water level will drop to baseline.

Not in violation of the conservation of energy


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