Common water insoluble powders to use as heatpipe wick.

I'm wanting to make a heatpipe which works against gravity and so am looking for commonly available materials to use as a wick. Like a sugarcube on a spoon soaking up coffee. Except that since I'll probably be using water as my working fluid, the wick will need to be insoluble in water, as well as heat proof to a couple hundred degrees.

A few things I've thought of to try are flour, talcum powder, chalk dust and sand.


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If you use any thing other than Copper or graphite inside your heat pipe it will offgas which means you will loose your vacuume and the pipe will cease to work.

1 watt of power is equal to 1 degree celcius of heat.

300 watts is more power than a heat pipe can handle against gravity but, not too much for a pool boiler or thermosiphon.

My background is 18 years working in electronics cooling for Thermacore Inc.
Year to the day.

I've ended up going with a thermosiphon, it's not too much hassle in the end having the tank above the heater.

What's a pool boiler?
A pool boiler is just anouther name for a Thermosiphon since a Thermosiphon will only work with a large amount of fluid compared to a heat pipe which sould only have as much fluid as the wick will hold.
lemonie7 years ago
What about glass-fibres? E.g. of the insulation kind.

SolarFlower_org (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Fibreglass apparently works good, carbon fibre too, but both have availability and -forming into 2-3 meter long rope- issues.
Can you get it to wick over that distance (uphill)?

SolarFlower_org (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Kiteman: good idea. I'll try that.

Lemonie: possibly not. Doing some more research it looks difficult to wick above a meter vertical, tho maybe I could just shorten the height required. otherwise I might have to look into loop heat pipes and other crafty things which will no doubt be vastly more hassle to construct.

This is all only if my light pipe doesn't work, which is hanging in the bathroom releasing its gasses and waiting to be capped and tried out.
Which end is the heat acting upon?

SolarFlower_org (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Yeah that's the thing. If it was hot end low there wouldn't be a problem, but it aint, and there is.

Isn't it just capillary action? I haven't seen mention of anything else in the literature...
The heat modifies things - this isn't a candle - so what is happening at the top and bottom?

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