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Distilling water from air?

   
Distilling water from air?

I'm creating a 3D model of a steampunk distiller, and I need some opinions.


I was thinking about how a world powered with steam would collect water where there is little immediately available. I should mention at this point that I am in no way a steampunk aficionado, nor a thermo/hydro-physicist. However, I came up with this idea of a tree shaped device. Its trunk would contain a heating element that would be wired to solar panels that acted as a large canopy. Beneath these panel-leaves, the branches would contain steam plugs were the steam could cool from the shade into detachable jars(like the fruit of a tree).

The question is where does the water come from? I had one idea of putting the tree in a pond or a lake, and having the roots upturned to pump water into the trunk. This would make it kind of a water cleansing system, rather than a collection system.

I'd rather have it be a source of water though, as it plays well into the tree and its fruit being a source of life.

Any thoughts on how this could work? Could a steaming system capture moisture from the air?

The answer to your question is "no". There's no method by which a heating system (steam based or not) can be used to extract water from the air. Well, unless your fuel source is burning hydrogen. And even then, you couldn't convert it from vapor to liquid with said method.

What you need is a cooling system. Of which there are innumerable options, some of which already exist in nature (check out some of the tricks desert life uses to actually live).


You could also say the tree has "receptive pores" in its leaves. Which is a trick certain rainforest plants that can't actually root themselves into the ground have picked up. Certain vines don't even HAVE a root system anymore, living solely on stuff that gets on its skin.


But, no steam engine is going to suck water out of air... the whole *definition* of "steam engine" is the exact opposite of that.

I think you misunderstood me. It's not a steam-heating system. It's a heating system that would potentially take water from some source, heat it into steam, which would rise through the trunk into the branches and condense into bottles, which represent the 'fruit' of the tree.

The question is the source. A lake is obvious, I've thought about underground aquifers as well, but there's little reason why they wouldn't just drill it out.

If you have a lake, why not just fill the bottles in the lake? If the water is not pure, a water purification plant is going to be much more efficient than the steam-tree-thing.

Sure it is possible, but you would need a large amount of energy, and only worth it in specific locations without other sources of water. Wikipedia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbender View Post
If you have a lake, why not just fill the bottles in the lake? If the water is not pure, a water purification plant is going to be much more efficient than the steam-tree-thing.

Sure it is possible, but you would need a large amount of energy, and only worth it in specific locations without other sources of water. Wikipedia
Exactly.

btw, if you want to distil water from air in the desert, hang a plastic sheet over four poles. Put a rock in the middle of the sheet to make it hang down. Put a pot under the rock in the sheet. In the morning, there will be water in your pot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbender View Post
btw, if you want to distil water from air in the desert, hang a plastic sheet over four poles. Put a rock in the middle of the sheet to make it hang down. Put a pot under the rock in the sheet. In the morning, there will be water in your pot.
And once we have enough, we will change the face of Arakis.

But then the empire shall starve for lack of spice.




 

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